Six Degrees of Speculation: Metaphysics in Empirical Contexts

Anjan Chakravartty

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter argues that the distinction between empiricism and metaphysics is not as clear as van Fraassen would like to believe. Almost all inquiry is metaphysical to a degree, including van Fraassen's stance empiricism. Van Fraassen does not make a strong case against metaphysics, since the argument against metaphysics has to happen at the level of meta-stances -the level where one decides which stance to endorse. The chapter maintains that utilizing van Fraassen's own conception of rationality, metaphysicians are rational. Empiricists should not reject all metaphysics, but just the sort of metaphysics which goes well beyond the empirical contexts that most interest them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationImages of Empiricism
Subtitle of host publicationEssays on Science and Stances, with a Reply from Bas C. van Fraassen
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191711732
ISBN (Print)9780199218844
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Bas van fraassen
  • Empiricism
  • Metaphyics
  • Rationality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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