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date: 19 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on the main methods used in analytic metaphysics. It first considers five important sources of constraints on metaphysical theorizing: linguistic and conceptual analysis, consulting intuitions, employing the findings of science, respecting folk opinion, and applying theoretical virtues in metaphysical theory choice such as preferring simpler theories, or preferring more explanatory theories. It then examines the role of formal methods in metaphysics as well as the role of metaphysical communities, traditions, and the place of the history of metaphysics in contemporary work. It also discusses the issue of whether metaphysics should be seen as an enterprise that will yield knowledge of metaphysical matters or whether it should have more modest epistemic goals. Finally, it explores the question of how much of metaphysics is a priori.

Keywords: analytic metaphysics, linguistic analysis, conceptual analysis, intuition, science, folk opinion, metaphysical theory, metaphysics, a priori

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