Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized

Paperback | October 15, 2009

byJames Ladyman, Don Ross

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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 howrecent 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 metaphysicsof 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 ofself-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. Theconsequences 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 virtualobjects, and the objective reality of natural kinds.

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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 howrecent metaphysics has drifted away from connecti...

James Ladyman is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bristol. Don Ross is Professor of Philosophy and Professor of economics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Professor of Economics at the University of Cape Town.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.07 inPublished:October 15, 2009Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199573093

ISBN - 13:9780199573097

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Table of Contents

Preface1. with David Spurrett: In Defence of Scientism2. Scientific Realism, Constructive Empiricism and Structuralism3. Ontic Structural Realism and the Philosophy of Physics4. with John Collier: Rainforest Realism and the Unity of Science5. with David Spurrett: Causation in a Structural World6. Conclusion - Philosophy EnoughBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"An enticing work." --Jeremy Butterfield, Times Literary Supplement