The Metaphysics of Science 


The Metaphysics of Science (1996, 2007) Second edition published by Springer in 2007; xvi + 333 pp.

In this work, modern science is depicted as having a core consisting of ontological prin-ciples, which determine the form of scientific inquiry on both the empirical and theoreti-cal levels. Inquiry on the empirical level is more particularly determined by the principle of the uniformity of nature, which urges scientists to discover empirical laws, while on the theoretical level the principle of causality leads scientists to create scientific theories.

The Metaphysics of Science provides a clear conception of modern science, according to which its core consists of particular metaphysical principles. On this view, both the em-pirical and the theoretical aspects of science are the result of the attempt to apply these metaphysical principles to reality. There is a flexibility in the application of the principles, however, so that they may come to be reformed over time through scientific revolutions.

This approach to modern science provides a unified conception of the enterprise, explain-ing such of its various aspects as the principle of induction, the nature of scientific knowledge and scientific reduction, the fundamental difference between the natural and social sciences, and the role of essentialism with respect to natural kinds. Furthermore, it provides a resolution of the long-standing debate between empiricism and realism. In this regard, and in others, the view of science advanced in this work is not only novel, but constitutes an alternative that is superior to both the empirical-analytic and the sociology of knowledge approaches that are prevalent today.