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Grant number like: FA-57443-13

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Amie L. Thomasson
Trustees of Dartmouth College (Coral Gables, FL 33146-2919)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products][Media coverage]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2013 – 7/31/2014

The Descent of Metaphysics

I propose to complete work on a book, The Descent of Metaphysics. The book investigates the methods and knowledge claims of metaphysics, that central branch of philosophy. Metaphysicians purport to tell us what exists--but it seems the sciences give a better method of answering existence questions. They also aim to tell us about the modal features of things of various types, but it is notoriously difficult to say how modal knowledge is possible at all. In this book I develop the first book-length development and defense of a deflationary approach to metaphysical questions--including existence questions and modal questions. I argue that the view developed enables us to answer existence questions straightforwardly and to demystify modal knowledge. On the view defended, the metaphysician’s central contribution is a form of conceptual work, not a pseudo-science. As a result, the methods of metaphysics are clarified, and metaphysics is located squarely among the humanistic disciplines.