List journal issues    
 
 
Home List journal issues Table of contents Subscribe to APQ

Article

Volume 51 • Number 4

October 2014



 

 

Practical Realism as Metaphysics


by Lynne Rudder Baker


Mainstream analytic metaphysics is a priori metaphysics. It is hemmed in by basic assumptions that rest on no more than a priori intuitions. Jaegwon Kim's (1989) arguments about causation are a paradigm example of sophisticated arguments with little or no justification from the world as we know it. And Peter van Inwagen's (1990) arguments about material objects are motivated by a question that, I think, has no nontrivial answer: Under what conditions do some x's compose an object y? The trivial answers are "always" and "never." Any other answer, including van Inwagen's, seems to me to be arbitrary—and again based on a priori intuitions.

To cite two more examples that I find egregious: (1) The assumption that there is a metaphysically important distinction between what is mind-independent and what is not, and (2) the assumption that there is a metaphysically important distinction, among things that are real, between what is fundamental and what is not. A priori intuitions, especially when not shared by philosophers outside a small circle of specially trained people, seem a weak reed on which to hang metaphysical systems.


view PDF
 

 

 

 
Home | Issue Index
 
© 2014 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois
Content in American Philosophical Quarterly is intended for personal, noncommercial use only. You may not reproduce, publish, distribute, transmit, participate in the transfer or sale of, modify, create derivative works from, display, or in any way exploit the American Philosophical Quarterly database in whole or in part without the written permission of the copyright holder.

American Philosophical Quarterly is published by the University of Illinois Press on behalf of North American Philosophical Publications.

ISSN: 2152-1123