Philosophy as Total Axiomatics: Serious Metaphysics, Scrutability Bases, and Aesthetic Evaluation

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What is the aim of philosophy? There may be too many philosophical branches, traditions, practices, and programs to admit of a single overarching aim. Here I focus on a fairly traditional philosophical project that has recently received increasingly sophisticated articulation, especially by Frank Jackson (1998) and David Chalmers (2012). In §1, I present the project and suggest that it is usefully thought of as ‘total axiomatics’: the project of attempting to axiomatize the total theory of the world. In §2, I raise a problem for the project that I call the ‘problem of multiple axiomatizations.’ I consider some initially alluring but ultimately unpromising approaches to this problem in §3. In §4, I defend a surprising approach to the problem, according to which competing axiomatizations of the total theory of the world are effectively evaluated for their aesthetic virtues.
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First archival date: 2016-02-16
Latest version: 4 (2016-08-02)
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