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ALS: Kerry McKenzie
February 14 @ 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Progress and its Problems: Coming to Terms with Theory Change in the Metaphysics of Science
Kerry McKenzie, University of California, San Diego
Progress is often cited as definitive of science. Thinking about the sense, if any, that metaphysics progresses might therefore help us get a purchase on the demarcation between science and metaphysics and on what a ‘naturalistic’ metaphysics consists of. Drawing on work by Nicholas Rescher, I argue that metaphysics cannot make progress in the sense that science does, owing to its unreceptiveness to notions of ‘approximate truth’ analogous to those attributable to science. While this raises searching questions as to the value of metaphysical theorizing prior to the emergence of a fundamental theory, here I pursue the prospects of using an in-principle failure to approximate as a criterion by which to demarcate metaphysics from science. We will see there are considerations pulling both ways.