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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Dr Matthew Tugby

Mumford, Stephen & Tugby, Matthew (2013). What Is the Metaphysics of Science? In Metaphysics and Science. Mumford, Stephen & Tugby, Matthew Oxford: Oxford University Press. 3-28.

Author(s) from Durham


In this chapter it is argued, for both historical and conceptual reasons, that the metaphysics of science is concerned with the very metaphysical preconditions of science. Scientific disciplines are characterized, at least in part, by their aim to provide novel predictions and to offer explanations for new facts and anomalies. These aims could not be achieved in a disorderly and chaotic world, however. Science can only exist in an ordered, patterned world, and it is argued that the core aim of the metaphysics of science is to investigate the nature of that order. Specifically, in our world this order consists in lawhood, causation, natural kind hierarchies, and possibly a structure of emergent levels of being.