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Hawley, Katherine, and . Science as a guide to Metaphysics?

2006, Synthese 149(3): 451-470.

Abstract: Analytic metaphysics is in resurgence; there is renewed and vigorous interest in topics such as time, causation, persistence, parthood and possible worlds. Those who share this interest often pay lip-service to the idea that metaphysics should be informed by modern science; some take this duty very seriously. But there is also a widespread suspicion that science cannot really contribute to metaphysics, and that scientific findings grossly underdetermine metaphysical claims. Can science guide metaphysics? The author links this question to the the choice between Radical Pessimism on the one hand and either Moderate Pessimism or Optimism on the other.

Comment: This paper investigates the relevance of science to metaphysics and could be used as a reading for postgraduate courses in philosophy of science (or metaphysics). It is especially useful for students who want to research the relationship between presentism and special relativity.