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By Norman Swartz

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Additional info for Beyond Experience: Metaphysical Theories and Philosophical Constraints (Toronto Studies in Philosophy)

Sample text

Popper has called the method of science “conjectures and refutations”. Just as aptly it could be called “a creative guessing game”. The growth in experiential knowledge has been prodigious in extent and remarkable in its variety. Science has revealed to us many of the nearly infinitesimal components of the atom and much of the structures of galactic clusters; many of the secrets of inorganic matter and those of living tissues; a considerable number of the operations of the insensate, and some of the infinitely more subtle operations of the consciousnesses of human beings.

My aim is to try to lay bare the ‘inner logic’ (if I may be permitted such a phrase) of some of our most fundamental concepts. But – as Strawson explains – descriptive metaphysics is virtually always accompanied by revisionary metaphysics. ” When I do that, I will not merely be reporting how the concept is used; I will be suggesting how we might profitably revise or refine our concept for further use. CHAPTER THREE Theories: What they are and what they are not In chapter 2, I invoked the concept of theory several times.

The problem lies deeper. The Positivists’ program was doomed, not just because it is impossible to isolate the metaphysical components of a scientific theory, but rather, and more importantly, because metaphysical components are essential to any reasonable scientific theory. Scientific and metaphysical theorizing go hand in hand; it is impossible to do either one without the other. Science is impossible without some metaphysical presuppositions; metaphysics is impossible, or at the very least sterile in the extreme, unless informed by science (experience).

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