Moving Beyond Unification and Modeling: A Reconsideration of Radically Naturalized Metaphysics

Andrew M. Winters


Ontic structural realists Ladyman and Ross (2007) endorse the view that the only metaphysical tasks worth pursuing are to unify the sciences and model the objective structure of reality. This form of radically naturalized metaphysics, however, depends upon the principle of naturalistic closure. In this paper I argue that the principle of naturalistic closure is at odds with radically naturalized metaphysics since it is a nonnaturalized metaphysical principle, claiming that radically naturalized metaphysics is not the only form of metaphysics worth doing. In particular, the principle of naturalistic closure requires that a metaphysical claim M at t be of service to some scientific hypothesis H. The principle, however, does not state when M must be of service to H. It is possible for a metaphysical claim at t to be of service to a scientific hypothesis at t+n. Furthermore, the principle of naturalistic closure is not a direct result of scientific inquiry. Yet, as I argue, the principle of naturalistic closure is a metaphysical claim. Thus, motivating the position that metaphysics is not restricted to the tasks of unifying the sciences and modeling the objective structure of reality, but more importantly that it should not be.


structural realism; naturalism; metametaphysics

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