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Title: An Empiricist Conception of the Relation Between Metaphysics and Science
Contributor(s): Boucher, Sandy C  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2019-11
Early Online Version: 2018-11-05
DOI: 10.1007/s11406-018-0040-4
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Abstract: It is widely acknowledged that metaphysical assumptions, commitments and presuppositions play an important role in science. Yet according to the empiricist there is no place for metaphysics as traditionally understood in the scientific enterprise. In this paper I aim to take a first step towards reconciling these seemingly irreconcilable claims. In the first part of the paper I outline a conception of metaphysics and its relation to science that should be congenial to empiricists, motivated by van Fraassen’s work on ‘stances’. There has been a considerable about of recent work devoted to van Fraassen’s ‘stance’ view, but it has not on the whole been noticed that the view has the potential to motivate a general empiricist conception of the relation between science and metaphysics. In the second and third sections I discuss two examples from biology to illustrate this conception: metaphysical punctuationism, and its relation to and influence on the thesis of punctuated equilibrium; and dialectical biology as defended by Levins and Lewontin.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Philosophia, 47(5), p. 1355-1378
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Place of Publication: Netherlands
ISSN: 1574-9274
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 220206 History and Philosophy of Science (incl. Non-historical Philosophy of Science)
Fields of Research (FoR) 2020: 500317 Philosophy of science (excl. history and philosophy of specific fields)
500309 Metaphysics
500204 History and philosophy of science
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2008: 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Socio-Economic Objective (SEO) 2020: 280119 Expanding knowledge in philosophy and religious studies
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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