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ISBN:0199218218
Author: Tim Maudlin
ISBN13: 978-0199218219
Title: The Metaphysics Within Physics
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ePUB size: 1168 kb
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Language: English
Category: Humanities
Publisher: Clarendon Press; 1 edition (June 14, 2007)
Pages: 192

The Metaphysics Within Physics by Tim Maudlin



Tim Maudlin argues that the ontology derived from physics takes a form quite different from those most commonly defended by philosophers. Physics postulates irreducible fundamental laws, eschews universals, does not require a fundamental notion of causation, and makes room for the passage of time.

Tim Maudlin argues that the ontology derived from physics takes a form quite different from those most commonly defended by philosophers. Download (pdf, . 0 Mb) Donate Read. Epub FB2 mobi txt RTF.

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The Metaphysics Within Physics book. Tim Maudlin argues that the ontology derived from physics takes a form quite different from those most commonly defended by philosophers.

Maudlin's Metaphysics within Physics sweeps away some of the philosophical cobwebs that entangle anyone trying to develop a coherent metaphysical position. A few threads in that web are Kant, Hume, Carnap, Lewis, empiricism, logical positivism, etc. The book pulls together five essays of the author on causation, time and laws of nature. It is argued that traditional philosophical ontologies must yield to scientific descriptions of nature, whenever these descriptions do not translate well into the traditional framework.

Tim Maudlin's book The Metaphysics within Physics (Oxford University Press, 2007, since now on ‗MWP') is a collection of six essays written over a span of over a decade. Although thought of as independent and self-contained, they clearly constitute a consistent, unified proposal for a physics-based ontology. Many before Maudlin thought that ontology should be informed by, if not derived from, physics. What is peculiar with his proposal is not so much that physics inspires his ontology, but that in deriving metaphysical lessons from physics, he is not driven by empiricist scruples

The basic idea of Maudlin's superb book is methodological: ‘metaphysics, insofar as it is concerned with the natural world, can do no better than to reflect on physics. Physical theories provide us with the best handle we have on what there is, and the philosopher's proper task is the interpretation and elucidation of those theories. In particular, when choosing the fundamental posits of one's ontology, one must look to scientific practice rather than to philosophical prejudice’.

Tim Maudlin, The Metaphysics Within Physics, Oxford University Press, 2007, 197pp. This brief but fertile volume develops and defends the basic idea that "metaphysics, in so far as it is concerned with the natural world, can do no better than to reflect on physics. Maudlin proposes to build on a foundation in which laws of nature and a directed time are assumed as primitives which generate the cosmic pattern of events - observable or not. Physical modality follows readily, but (he argues) physics does not itself employ a notion of causation. So causal and counterfactual locutions are fit candidates for an analysis that will supplement physical law with pragmatic factors, while metaphysical possibility is suspect beyond the bounds of physical possibility.

Read "The Metaphysics Within Physics" by Tim Maudlin with Rakuten Kobo  . Do they have a place in the physical structure of the world? Tim Maudlin argues that the ontology derived from physics takes a form quite different from those most commonly defended by philosophers.

Format Paperback 208 pages. Dimensions 157 x 234 x 12mm 331g. Publication date 18 Jan 2010. Publisher Oxford University Press. Publication City/Country Oxford, United Kingdom.

What fundamental account of the world is implicit in physical theory? Physics straightforwardly postulates quarks and electrons, but what of the more intangible elements, such as laws of nature, universals, causation and the direction of time? Do they have a place in the physical structure of the world? Tim Maudlin argues that the ontology derived from physics takes a form quite different from those most commonly defended by philosophers. Physics postulates irreducible fundamental laws, eschews universals, does not require a fundamental notion of causation, and makes room for the passage of time. In a series of linked essays The Metaphysics Within Physics outlines an approach to metaphysics opposed to the Humean reductionism that motivates much analytical metaphysics.
Reviews: 3
Kanrad
Maudlin demonstrates the fallacy of the philosophical position of empiricism (of the Humean kind) by addressing a number of key questions and fundamental issues in both physics and philosophy having to do with the nature of reality and existence (ontology). Time, causality and the properties of objects are among the topics that Maudlin covers in criticizing empiricism. Maudlin has degrees in physics and philosophy and the manner in which he plumbs examples in physics to make his philosophical points is both compelling and stimulating.
Ydely
Maudlin's Metaphysics within Physics sweeps away some of the philosophical cobwebs that entangle anyone trying to develop a coherent metaphysical position. A few threads in that web are Kant, Hume, Carnap, Lewis, empiricism, logical positivism, etc.

The book pulls together five essays of the author on causation, time and laws of nature. It is argued that traditional philosophical ontologies must yield to scientific descriptions of nature, whenever these descriptions do not translate well into the traditional framework. The Humean picture of a vast mosaic of local matters of fact -- instantiated at points -- should be replaced by a global structure with non-local connections. In Maudlin's picture, scientific laws and the direction of time are fundamental and are not suitable for philosophical analysis.

My favorite essays were "Suggestions for Deep Metaphysics" which describes the metaphysical implications of gauge theories, and "Causation, Counterfactuals, and the Third Factor", which demolishes the counterfactual analysis of causation due to David Lewis. The counterfactual treatment has always seemed like rubbish to me, and I never understood its popularity among philosophers.

The best quote followed a critique of Occam's Razor (p 4). "Let others subsist on the thin gruel of minimalist metaphysics: I'll take my ontology mit Schlag." -- a good motto for those who are not attracted to weird deflationary and minimalist philosophies.
Gaeuney
One star for my naivete, thinking I could comprehend this burdensome academic prose. Every paragraph left me scratching my head. I still read the entire book, hoping to glean something worth quoting, but comprehended less than 10% of its content. Never heard of supervenience or counterfactuals before. One star for my intelligence. This review says more about my philosophical naivete than about the depth of Maudlin's argument. I don't think I could ever be an academic in any field, much less philosophy. It was the most boring book I have ever read--even worse than John Bowlby's "Attachment." More up my alley, and perhaps yours if you are not a professional philosopher, was Victor Stenger's "The Unconsious Quantum: Metaphysics in Modern Physics and Cosmology."