Keep the chickens cooped: the epistemic inadequacy of free range metaphysics

Synthese 197 (5):1867-1887 (2020)
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This paper aims to better motivate the naturalization of metaphysics by identifying and criticizing a class of theories I call ’free range metaphysics’. I argue that free range metaphysics is epistemically inadequate because the constraints on its content—consistency, simplicity, intuitive plausibility, and explanatory power—are insufficiently robust and justificatory. However, since free range metaphysics yields clarity-conducive techniques, incubates science, and produces conceptual and formal tools useful for scientifically engaged philosophy, I do not recommend its discontinuation. I do recommend, however, ending the discipline’s bad faith. That is, I urge that free range metaphysics not be taken to have fully satisfactory epistemic credentials over and above its pragmatic ones.

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Amanda Bryant
Ryerson University


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