The Metaphysics of Science 

Review Excerpts

“Perhaps the greatest theoretical success of the book is its convincing arguments for the importance of metaphysical considerations to science. On the PTL model, Dilworth shows why metaphysics plays, or should play, a central role in understanding modern science. If one accepts the notion that there are non-empirically testable (in the standard sense) prin-ciples on which all of science is based, one is also forced to admit metaphysics. ... Dilworth does a convincing job of walking the fine line between the strong foundationalist and strong coherentist positions, carving out, in the process, an interesting place for metaphysics in science. ...

“Dilworth has done a good job of presenting the debate that he wishes to resolve, and manages an interesting analysis of the role of metaphysics in science.”
-Chris Eliasmith, Dialogue.

“The book would make a suitable addition to the shelves of any philosophy department or science faculty library. It is thoughtful, original and many will find it provocative.” -Ian Hinckfuss, Australasian Journal of Philosophy

“Dilworth does not content himself with a mere philosophical analysis of the phenomenon of modern science, but tries to draw a lesson from this analysis applicable to the actual practice of science. Whereas in its beginnings modern science was a paradigm of open-mindedness, it is now in danger of becoming an ideology, due to its refusal to reflect on its own principles. The Metaphysics of Science performs the much-needed function of opening the door to such reflection – both for professional philosophers and scientist themselves.” -L. E. Fleischhacker, Epistemologia

“The book is clearly written and well structured. [It provides] an interesting general in-troduction to the philosophy of science from quite a different perspective than is usually offered – a perspective which is decidedly Kantian in flavour.” -F. Weinert, Philosophy

“The main message of The Metaphysics of Science is that science is based on metaphysical principles. [Dilworth] expresses this in an apposite way such that scientific concepts are ‘principle-laden,’ where the principles intended are those of the uniformity of nature, the continuous existence of substance, and causality. Around this he builds a model of scientific explanation, based on the three concepts, principles, laws and theories, and shows its applicability in a number of areas of science.”
-Sven Ove Hansson, University of Stockholm

“Dilworth’s book is [an] interesting Whewellian ‘top-down’ account of the aims, methods and structure of science. An outgrowth of Scientific Progress, this monograph is a very well written and insightful account of science as an enterprise which imposes certain (intelligible) principles on more specific theories.” -Matti Sintonen, University of Tampere

“In this fine book, Dilworth affords a unified conception of the scientific enterprise, ex-plaining such of its various aspects as 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. Further, he also resolves the long-standing debate between empiricism and realism. According to Dilworth’s conception, the core of science consists of particular metaphysical principles – principles which as a matter of fact are being utilized in all scientific professions. He demonstrates that both the empirical and theoretical aspects of science are the result of applying these principles to reality, and in so doing provides a greater understanding of science while at the same time convincing us scientists of the importance of metaphysics to science. Dilworth’s view is not only novel, but is a superior alternative to both the empirical-analytic and so-ciology of knowledge approaches that are prevalent today. Anyone involved in general philosophy and/or philosophy of science will want to read this book; and most libraries ought to have a copy.” -Karl H. Wolf, University of Sydney

“These two works [Scientific Progress and The Metaphysics of Science], the latter growing out of the former, are a sustained and comprehensive account of the methodology of science in the light of the theories which have dominated twentieth-century thinking. Dilworth argues that all the competing accounts are flawed, and substitutes his own, ap-plying it in detail to concrete examples from both the natural and social sciences. ...
 “Both [books] have much to recommend them. They are written with great fluency, and their combined historical survey is immensely valuable. They also contain a wealth of critical comment which ... is important and suggestive, providing a stimulus for further debate. Together they make a significant contribution to the philosophy of science, and will be found useful both to students and professionals alike.” -David S. Oderberg, Ratio