How to (and not to) Defend the Manifest Image

In Paul Giladi (ed.), Responses to Naturalism: From Idealism and Pragmatism. Routledge. pp. 144-164 (2019)
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Claims such as ‘there are no tables and chairs’ have become increasingly common in the philosophical context, and eliminativism is now a fairly well-established position in contemporary debates in analytic metaphysics. This outbreak of eliminativism has prompted a number of responses aimed at saving the manifest image of reality. Prominent amongst the attempts to save the manifest image is a view, powerfully articulated by Frank Jackson in From Metaphysics to Ethics , according to which the manifest properties of objects, properties such as solidity or fragility, can be spared from the eliminativist’s guillotine if it can be shown that they are entailed (through the relation of supervenience) by scientific properties. Jackson’s strategy for saving the manifest image rests on a modest conception of the role of conceptual analysis in metaphysics. On this view, the role of conceptual analysis is modest because it is not the task of philosophy to establish a priori what there is, but rather to determine which features of the manifest image can be located within the scientific image: the manifest properties which cannot be so located are shown to be rogue concepts that have no place in serious metaphysics. This chapter argues against the attempt to save the manifest image by invoking the relation of entailment (whether that implied by the notion of supervenience or by the more traditional notion of analytic entailment) on the grounds that the manifest image is sui generis. The defence of the manifest image that I propose as an alternative here rests on the idealist assumption that knowledge makes a difference to what is known, and that since the manifest and the scientific image are the correlative of two different ways of knowing they do not compete with one another. I call the idealist view that knowledge makes a difference to what is known the Reciprocity Thesis. Rather than seeking to determine what kind of manifest image one is entitled to have in order to comply with the scientific image, the Reciprocity Thesis limits the claims of science to its own explanandum and therefore sees no need to legitimise the manifest image by invoking the relation of entailment. The need to legitimise the manifest image in the light of the scientific image arises because the relation between the scientific and the manifest image has not been properly conceptualised. Once the scientific and the manifest image are understood as the correlative of different ways of knowing, the problem which the location strategy seeks to solve is shown to rest on a misconception of the relationship holding between different kinds of knowledge.
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