"Metaphysical Pluralism" is an analysis of the conditions and causes for the multiplicity of metaphysical systems. It argues for the viability of metaphysical pluralism — the view that there is more than one plausible metaphysical system, and that there can be good reasons for
these various views. Without arguing a specific theory
of metaphysics, this thesis defends the ability of metaphysical knowledge to remain critical and rational in the face
of the sceptical claim of relativism.
Chapter One and the Appendix discuss the more general
issues of conceptual pluralism as found in the social sciences.
Ideas of autonomy and relativism from Wittgenstein and Winch
are criticized, and it is concluded that there is no a_ priori
guarantee that conceptual schemes are free from internal
confusions, have determinate boundaries or exist in a fully
developed and formal way. These conclusions are then
applied to specific issues in the philosophical arguments
of metaphysical systems. Chapter Two and Three do this.
The historical conditions which develop into pluralism are
described in Chapter Rour as a permanent feature of the
human condition and of knowledge as such. Chapter Rive
then explains how ultimate pluralism does not destroy the
rationality or the purpose of a metaphysical framework, al¬
though any form of absolute, context free knowledge is de¬
nied. Pluralism is interpreted and defended as a mid¬
point between relativism and absolutism, emphasizing both
the constitutive character of conceptual schemes and the
larger context of motives and values.