Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized / Edition 1

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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, Ladyman and Ross 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, they 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 authors' 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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In this title, the authors make a case for a truly naturalistic metaphysics. In so doing, they aim to unify hypotheses and theories that are taken seriously by contemporary science....Every Thing Must Go argues that the only kind of metaphysics that can contribute to objective knowledge is one based on contemporary science as it really is in reality, and not on philosophers' a priori intuitions, common sense, or simplifications of science...I recommend it without hesitation."--Bradford McCall as reviewed in Minds & Machines

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199573097
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 11/9/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,348,821
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

University of Bristol

University of Alabama at Birmingham

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Table of Contents

1 In Defence of Scientism Don Ross James Ladyman David Spurrett 1

1.1 Naturalistic metaphysics 1

1.2 Neo-scholastic metaphysics 7

1.3 The principle of naturalistic closure 27

1.4 The primacy of physics 38

1.5 Unity of science and reductionism 45

1.6 Fundamental and other levels 53

1.7 Stances, norms, and doctrines 57

2 Scientific Realism, Constructive Empiricism, and Structuralism James Ladyman Don Ross 66

2.1 Scientific realism 68

2.2 Theory change 83

2.3 Structuralism 93

2.4 What is structural realism? 122

2.5 Conclusion 129

3 Ontic Structural Realism and the Philosophy of Physics James Ladyman Don Ross 130

3.1 Identity and individuality in quantum mechanics 132

3.2 Individuality and spacetime physics 141

3.3 Objectivity and invariance 145

3.4 The metaphysics of relations 148

3.5 Objections to ontic structuralism 154

3.6 Mathematical structure and physical structure 159

3.7 Further reflections on physics 161

3.8 Conclusion 189

4 Rainforest Realism and the Unity of Science Don Ross James Ladyman John Collier 190

4.1 Special sciences and disunity hypotheses 190

4.2 Dennett on real patterns 196

4.3 Concepts of information in physics and metaphysics 210

4.4 Rainforest realism 220

4.5 Fundamental physics and special science 238

5 Causation in a Structural World Don Ross James Ladyman David Spurrett 258

5.1 Russell's naturalistic rejection of causation 258

5.2 Philosophers and folk on causation 266

5.3 Causes in science 269

5.4 Letting science hold trumps 274

5.5 Laws in fundamental physics and the special sciences 281

5.6 Real patterns, types, and natural kinds 290

6 Conclusion-Philosophy Enough Don Ross James Ladyman 298

6.1 Why isn't this Dennett? Why isn't it Kant? 298

6.2 A reductio 300

6.3 Neo-positivism 303

References 311

Index 339

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