Matter, Action and Interaction
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In this paper, I will argue that a materialist ontology is an important heuristic for scientific theory, and that a classical problem in natural philosophy — whether matter is self-active or is inert — has its contemporary counterpart in modern physics, especially in microphysics. From this, there follow epistemological and methodological consequences concerning scientific inquiry and practice. In order to set the problem of my paper, I introduce as background the contemporary discussion of the relation of metaphysics to science. The philosophical problem of the paper, however, does not concern the formal or methodological issues in this debate, but rather how these issues are resolved in a concrete case, concerning matter, action, and interaction.
KeywordsInternal Relation Philosophical Problem Dialectical Materialism Methodological Consequence Heuristic Role
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- 1.T. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Kuhn’s own ambivalence mirrors that of Sir Karl: “We both (Kuhn and Popper) insist that scientists may properly aim to invent theories that explain observed phenomena and that do so in terms of real objects, whatever the latter phrase may mean.” (in Criticism and the Growth of Knowledge, (ed. Lakatos and Musgrave), Cambridge University Press, 1970, p. 2). But of course everything depends on what the “phrase may mean”! So much for ambivalent realism....Google Scholar
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