By Norman Swartz
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Additional resources for Beyond Experience: Metaphysical Theories and Philosophical Constraints (Toronto Studies in Philosophy)
Each of us subscribes to an enormous number of theories but we may be totally unaware that we do, and may be unable to articulate many of the theories we in fact believe and act upon. Theorizing begins at a very early age. Even as the young infant lies in her crib, she begins exploring her environment and theorizing 30 Beyond Experience about it. g. Mother or Father leaving the room) or one object passes behind another object, the obscured object does not ‘go out of existence’ (, 451-3). But what exactly do we mean when we say that the infant ‘catches on’ to the fact that most material objects persist (continue to exist) even though obscured from view by some other physical object?
But – as Strawson explains – descriptive metaphysics is virtually always accompanied by revisionary metaphysics. ” When I do that, I will not merely be reporting how the concept is used; I will be suggesting how we might profitably revise or refine our concept for further use. CHAPTER THREE Theories: What they are and what they are not In chapter 2, I invoked the concept of theory several times. In chapters 4 and 5, I will discuss what differences there are between metaphysical theories and scientific theories and what the problems are in generating and testing theories.
Our scientific instruments extend the range of our senses, to the infrared, to the ultraviolet, and beyond; to the subaudible, to the cryogenic, to the microscopic, etc. Our instruments, too, can make discriminations much finer than we ourselves are personally capable of: the nanosecond, the micron, the milligram, etc. And our instruments can even reveal features of Nature to which our senses seem to be blind, such as the polarization of the sky, the magnetic field of the Earth, or the direction of an electrical current.