Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized

Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized


By (author) James Ladyman, By (author) Don Ross, By (author) David Spurrett, By (author) John Collier

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 358 pages
  • Dimensions: 154mm x 234mm x 22mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 9 November 2009
  • Publication City/Country: Oxford
  • ISBN 10: 0199573093
  • ISBN 13: 9780199573097
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 236,567

Product description

Every Thing Must Go argues that the only kind of metaphysics that can contribute to objective knowledge is one based specifically on contemporary science as it really is, and not on philosophers' a priori intuitions, common sense, or simplifications of science. In addition to showing how recent metaphysics has drifted away from connection with all other serious scholarly inquiry as a result of not heeding this restriction, they demonstrate how to build a metaphysics compatible with current fundamental physics ('ontic structural realism'), which, when combined with their metaphysics of the special sciences ('rainforest realism'), can be used to unify physics with the other sciences without reducing these sciences to physics itself. Taking science metaphysically seriously, Ladyman and Ross argue, means that metaphysicians must abandon the picture of the world as composed of self-subsistent individual objects, and the paradigm of causation as the collision of such objects. Every Thing Must Go also assesses the role of information theory and complex systems theory in attempts to explain the relationship between the special sciences and physics, treading a middle road between the grand synthesis of thermodynamics and information, and eliminativism about information. The consequences of the author's metaphysical theory for central issues in the philosophy of science are explored, including the implications for the realism vs. empiricism debate, the role of causation in scientific explanations, the nature of causation and laws, the status of abstract and virtual objects, and the objective reality of natural kinds.

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Author information

Don Ross is Professor of Philosophy and Professor of economics at the University of Alabama at Birrmingham, and Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town.

Review quote

This material is dense, challenging and creative...a provovative book...the authors are to be commended for taking on the challenge to develop a systematic, scientifically informed metaphysics for the twenty-first century. Paul W. Humphreys Metascience

Table of contents

Preface ; 1. In Defence of Scientism ; 2. Scientific Realism, Constructive Empiricism and Structuralism ; 3. Ontic Structural Realism and the Philosophy of Physics ; 4. Rainforest Realism and the Unity of Science ; 5. Causation in a Structural World ; 6. Conclusion - Philosophy Enough ; Bibliography