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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 18, 2017

Battling for Metaphysics: The Case for Indispensability

Paul Giladi
From the journal Metaphysica

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to propose that both Hegel and Peirce are committed to two arguments against the notion that metaphysics is impossible, where not only do they claim metaphysics is possible, but that they also insist on the indispensability of this philosophical discipline. In the first argument, both Hegel and Peirce argue that it is impossible to eliminate metaphysical concepts from ordinary language and our scientific practices. In the second argument, both Hegel and Peirce argue that metaphysics is a necessary part of intellectual enquiry on the grounds that metaphysics is indispensable for human development. Such is the philosophical significance of both their views on the indispensability of metaphysics that there is every reason to regard Hegel and Peirce as representing powerful challenges to eliminativist attitudes to metaphysical enquiry. The purpose of my paper is to justify the exercise of metaphysics as a “humanistic discipline”, to use an expression from Bernard Williams. Using perfectionist approaches to ethics as a framework in which to contextualise the question of whether it could ever be desirable to eliminate metaphysics is under-explored and potentially a major avenue through which to explore the way we do metaphysics today.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Bob Stern for his invaluable comments on many previous drafts of this article.

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Published Online: 2017-3-18
Published in Print: 2017-4-1

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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