We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

What is the metaphysics of science?

Mumford, Stephen and Tugby, Matthew (2013) 'What is the metaphysics of science?', in Metaphysics and science. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 3-28. Mind Association occasional series.


In this chapter it is argued, for both historical and conceptual reasons, that the metaphysics of science is concerned with the very metaphysical preconditions of science. Scientific disciplines are characterized, at least in part, by their aim to provide novel predictions and to offer explanations for new facts and anomalies. These aims could not be achieved in a disorderly and chaotic world, however. Science can only exist in an ordered, patterned world, and it is argued that the core aim of the metaphysics of science is to investigate the nature of that order. Specifically, in our world this order consists in lawhood, causation, natural kind hierarchies, and possibly a structure of emergent levels of being.

Item Type:Book chapter
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This is a draft of a chapter that was accepted for publication by Oxford University Press in the book 'Metaphysics and Science' edited by Stephen Mumford and Matthew Tugby and published in 2013.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:12 May 2017
Date of first online publication:27 June 2013
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar