The Impact of Science on Metaphysics and its Limits
The paper argues for three theses: (1) Metaphysics depends on science as a source of knowledge. Our current scientific theories commit us to certain metaphysical claims. (2) As far as science is concerned, it is sufficient to spell these claims out in such a way that they amount to a parsimonious ontology. That ontology, however, creates a gap between our experience and the scientific view of the world. (3) In order to avoid that gap and to achieve a complete and coherent view of the world including ourselves, we have to enrich that ontology at its foundations, thus making it less parsimonious. The criterion of the integration into a complete and coherent view of the world including ourselves is the way in which the interpretation of scientific theories depends on metaphysics. These three theses are argued for and illustrated by means of two examples from the philosophy of time (eternalism vs. presentism) and the philosophy of mind (mental causation).