A possible argument?

The following is from the first chapter of E. J. Lowe’s The Possibility of Metaphysics:

“The idea is that the realm of metaphysical possibility is a genuine one which needs to be explored, or at least assumed, before any claim to truth in actuality can be legitimated by experience. And this is a realm which cannot, of course, be explored solely by the methods of the empirical sciences, precisely because they merely purport to establish what is true in actuality on the basis of experience, and hence presuppose metaphysics. But it may be objected here that the only sort of possibility which the empirical sciences presuppose is logical possibility – and that this can be established without recourse to a distinct discipline of metaphysics, because logical possibility is simply a matter of compliance with the a priori laws of logic. In short, it may be urged that the only precondition which needs to be met by the theories of empirical science, before they are tested in the court experience, is that they should not entail a logical contradiction. However, in the first place, the deliverances of experience itself can only be assessed in the light of metaphysical possibility and, in the second, such possibility is not merely tantamount to merely logical possibility as characterized a moment ago.” (p. 9)

Many things could be said about this purported argument, especially about the claim that empirical science is only concerned with actuality. But even the most sympathetic reader cannot fail to notice that the first sentence and the first clause of the attempted response to the objection look a little bit too similar. Given that second clause of the response seems to do nothing but deny the objectors claim, the response as whole seems to fail.

Advertisements

Tags: , ,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: