How to combine and not to combine physics and metaphysics

In Dennis Dieks & Vassili Karakostas (eds.), Proceedings of the EPSA 2011 (2012)
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Abstract

In this paper I will argue that if physics is to become a coherent metaphysics of nature it needs an “interpretation”. As I understand it, an interpretation of a physical theory amounts to offering (1) a precise formulation of its ontological claims and (2) a clear account of how such claims are related to the world of our experience. Notably, metaphysics enters importantly in both tasks: in (1), because interpreting our best physical theories requires going beyond a merely instrumentalist view of science and therefore using our best metaphysical theories; in (2), because a philosophical elaboration of the theories of the world that are implicit in our experience is one of the tasks of analytic metaphysics, and bridging possible explanatory gaps or even conflicts between the physical image and the manifest image of the world is a typical philosophical task that involves science and metaphysics

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