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Models pp 40-89 | Cite as

Metaphysics as Heuristic for Science

[1965]
  • Marx W. Wartofsky
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 48)

Abstract

Now that the anti-metaphysical crusade of classical positivism has spent its force, and has been fragmented into the qualified and revisionist versions of logical empiricism, there is evidence of a cautious rediscovery of the relevance of metaphysics to science, within some recent discussion in philosophy and history of science. I say ‘rediscovery’ because the thesis is certainly not new, and some hardy souls within philosophy and history of science have held it all along in one or another version, even in the heyday of verificationism and reductionism. But what appears in present discussion is not radical enough. Rather, I would characterize it not simply as cautious, but as an attempt at piecemeal reconstruction within the framework of logical empiricism; or else simply as an emasculated descriptivist thesis about the history of science (simply repeating what every serious student of the subject knows: namely that metaphysics has always been relevant to science in paradigmatic historical instances).

Keywords

Common Sense Scientific Theory Scientific Practice Ontological Commitment Theoretical Term 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    Carl Hempel, ‘Carnap and the Philosophy of Science’, in The Philosophy of Rudolf Carnap (ed. P. A. Schilpp), LaSalle, Ill., 1963, p. 707.Google Scholar
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    The reference is, of course, to Whitehead. For a recent treatment of Whitehead’s relevance to contemporary physics, see Abner Shimony, ‘Quantum Physics and the Philosophy of Whitehead’, in Boston Studies, Op. Cit., pp. 307ff. and the comments by J. M. Burgers.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland 1979

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  • Marx W. Wartofsky

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