Cognitive Science for the Revisionary Metaphysician

In Alvin Goldman & Brian P. McLaughlin (eds.), Cognitive Science and Metaphysics. Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
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Abstract
Many philosophers insist that the revisionary metaphysician—i.e., the metaphysician who offers a metaphysical theory which conflicts with folk intuitions—bears a special burden to explain why certain folk intuitions are mistaken. I show how evidence from cognitive science can help revisionist discharge this explanatory burden. Focusing on composition and persistence, I argue that empirical evidence indicates that the folk operate with a promiscuous teleomentalist view of composition and persistence. The folk view, I argue, deserves to be debunked. In this way, I take myself to have illustrated one key role cognitive science can play in metaphysics; namely by helping the revisionary metaphysician discharge the explanatory burden of providing a plausible explanation of how the folk have gone wrong.
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