Substantive Social Metaphysics
This is an accepted article with a DOI pre-assigned that is not yet published.
Social metaphysics is a source of important philosophical and moral insight. Furthermore, much social metaphysics appears to be substantive. However, some have recently argued that standard views of metaphysics cannot accommodate substantive social metaphysics. In this paper I offer a new diagnosis of this problem and defend a new solution, showing that this problem is an illuminating lens through which to examine the nature and boundaries of metaphysics. This case instantiates a broad, common pattern generated by attempts to align distinctions between realism and anti-realism, mind-independence and mind-dependence, and legitimate and non-legitimate inquiry. I show that the best response is to abandon the association between substantive metaphysics and mind-independence, and I sketch a new definition of substantivity, given in terms of explanatory power, that makes room for substantive social metaphysics while also offering an attractive basis for general metaphysics.
Keywords: Social metaphysics, realism, substantivity