Meta-Empirical Reasoning and Justification in Philosophy and the Sciences

Methodological naturalism (naturalism henceforth) is the view according to which the empiricist scientific methodology is adequate for both philosophy and the sciences. However, the validity of naturalism crucially depends on the alleged distinctiveness between philosophical and scientific methods. For if philosophy and science actually have significant methodological similarities, it puts into question the extent to which philosophy can or should be naturalized.

This project examines the use of meta-empirical methods and evidence in one specific science, namely economics. The existing literature is wanting in two respects. Firstly, the conceptual framework developed for appraising philosophical methods has not been mobilized to understand theoretical modelling, notably in economics. Secondly, the use of methods regarded as ‘philosophical’ by scientists has not yet been discussed in the context of the debate over naturalism.

This project fills these gaps by pursuing two objectives. Firstly, it uncovers the shared methodological features between philosophy and economic theoretical modelling. Secondly, it contributes to the metaphilosophical debate on naturalism. In particular, I will provide a novel argument for a ‘philosophical anti-exceptionalism' position. This project thus aims to defend a radically original claim, viz. that some parts of science are more similar to philosophy than usually assumed.

Philippe Verreault-Julien
Philippe Verreault-Julien
Postdoctoral Researcher

I work on the epistemology of modelling, understanding, and explanation.