From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics

by William C. BausmanJanella K. BaxterOliver M. Lean
Contributors: Richard CreathMarc EreshefskyMarie I. KaiserThomas A. C. ReydonLauren N. RossRose TrappesMarcel WeberWilliam C. Wimsatt

Numerous scholarly works focus solely on scientific metaphysics or biological practice, but few attempt to bridge the two subjects. This volume, the latest in the Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science series, explores what a scientific metaphysics grounded in biological practices could look like and how it might impact the way we investigate the world around us.

From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics examines how to reconcile the methods of biological practice with the methods of metaphysical cosmology, notably regarding the origins of life. The contributors take up a wide range of traditional metaphysics and philosophy of science topics, including natural kinds, medicine, ecology, genetics, scientific pluralism, reductionism, operationalism, mechanisms, the nature of information, and more. Many of the chapters represent the first philosophical treatments of significant biological practices.

From causality and complexity to niche constructions and inference, the contributors review and discuss long-held objections to metaphysics by natural scientists. They illuminate how, in order to learn about the world as it truly is, we must look not only at what scientists say but also what they do: for ontology cannot be read directly from scientific claims.

Background photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash


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