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Metaphysics as Heuristic for Science

  • Marx Wartofsky
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 3)

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).

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References

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    In Popper’s case, ‘recent’ needs qualification, since much of what I will discuss is in the 1934 Logic of Scientific Discovery. Nevertheless, it is a component of recent discussion, both in the sense that its theses are elaborated and expanded in Popper’s more recent essays, and in the sense that the earlier work came under full consideration only with its translation and publication (in revised form) in English, in 1959.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© D. Reidel Publishing Company / Dordrecht-Holland 1967

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marx Wartofsky
    • 1
  1. 1.Boston UniversityUSA

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