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Against Methodological Continuation and Metaphysical Knowledge

Allzén, Simon (2021) Against Methodological Continuation and Metaphysical Knowledge. [Preprint]

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Abstract

The main purpose of this paper is to refute the metaphysicians ‘methodological continuation’ argument supporting epistemic realism in metaphysics. This argument aims to show that scientific realists have to accept that metaphysics is as rationally justified as science given that they both employ inference to the best explanation, i.e. that metaphysics and science are methodologically continuous. I argue that the reasons given by scientific realists as to why inference to the best explanation (IBE) is reliable in science do not constitute a reason to believe that it is reliable in metaphysics. The justification of IBE in science and the justification of IBE in metaphysics are two distinct issues with only superficial similarities, and one cannot rely on one for the other. This becomes especially clear when one analyses the debate about the legitimacy of IBE that has taken place between realists and empiricists. The metaphysician seeking to piggyback on the realist defense of IBE in science by the methodological continuation argument presupposes that the defense is straightforwardly applicable to metaphysics. I will argue that it is, in fact, not. The favoured defenses of IBE in scientific realism make extensive use of empirical considerations, predictive power and inductive evidence, all of which are paradigmatically absent in the metaphysical context. Furthermore, I argue that the metaphysician, even if the realist would concede to the methodological continuation argument, fails to offer any agreed upon conclusions resulting from its application in metaphysics. As a result, the scientific realist is not committed to believing that there is metaphysical knowledge.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Allzén, Simonsimon.allzen@philosophy.su.se0000-0002-6124-8152
Keywords: Methodological continuation, Scientific realism, Metaphysics, Inference to the best explanation
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Depositing User: Mr Simon Allzén
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2021 03:48
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2021 03:48
Item ID: 18952
Subjects: General Issues > Scientific Metaphysics
General Issues > Confirmation/Induction
General Issues > Explanation
General Issues > Realism/Anti-realism
Date: 26 April 2021
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18952

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