Article/Publication Details

Strawson‘s Descriptive Metaphysics – Its Scope and Limits

(Original title: Strawson‘s Descriptive Metaphysics – Its Scope and Limits)
Organon F, 2009, vol. 16, No 4, pp. 529-541.
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Abstract

This paper examines some aspects of Strawson’s conception of descriptive metaphysics, as it is developed in Individuals. Descriptive metaphysics sets out to describe ”the actual structure of our thought about the world”. Three specific problems for this project are discussed. First, isn’t the description of our actual thought about the world mainly an empirical task? Second, how determinate and consistent is the stuff we find, how determinate and consistent is our conceptual scheme? Third, who are “we” here? Answers to these sets of questions are mainly negative in spirit. But all this will probably not mean that there will be no place for metaphysics, descriptive or revisionary, as a subject. The whole enterprise is perhaps more fraught with difficulties than Strawson thought, however.

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