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date: 12 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Science has transformed, if not solved, some metaphysical problems while posing new ones. Metaphysical ideas such as those of the ancient atomists have sometimes proved helpful in developing new scientific theories. But the widespread agreement on the empirically grounded progress achieved in science has often been contrasted with what seem to be abstruse and interminable disputes over metaphysical theses. Karl Popper sought to demarcate scientific from metaphysical and other claims by appealing to their empirical falsifiability, while Rudolf Carnap and other logical positivists dismissed metaphysical claims as cognitively meaningless since they are neither empirically verifiable nor true by virtue of meaning. This article considers some contemporary views on how science relates to metaphysics only after examining the impact of science on more specific metaphysical issues—composition, identity and individuality, time and change, determinism, causation, laws, probability, and the primacy of fundamental physics.

Keywords: science, metaphysics, physical composition, identity and individuality, time and change, determinism, causation, physical laws, probability, fundamental physics

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