Introverted Metaphysics: How We Get Our Grip on the Ultimate Nature of Objects, Properties, and Causation

Metaphilosophy 50 (5):688-707 (2019)
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Abstract

This paper pulls together three debates fundamental in metaphysics and proposes a novel unified approach to them. The three debates are (i) between bundle theory and substrate theory about the nature of objects, (ii) dispositionalism and categoricalism about the nature of properties, and (iii) regularity theory and production theory about the nature of causation. The first part of the paper (§§2-4) suggests that although these debates are metaphysical, the considerations motivating the competing approaches in each debate tend to be epistemological. The second part (§§5-6) argues that the two underlying epistemological pictures supporting competing views lead to highly unsatisfying conceptions of the world. The final part (§§7-10) proposes an alternative epistemological picture, which I call ‘introverted empiricism,’ and presents the way it provides for a more satisfying grasp of the ultimate nature of objects, properties, and causation. It is a consequence of this alternative picture that there is a kind of intimate self-understanding that underlies our understanding of the deep nature of reality.

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Uriah Kriegel
Rice University

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