Strawson’s famous distinction between descriptive and revisionary metaphysics describes two different methodological approaches to the question of fundamental ontology. This chapter focuses mainly on the origin of the descriptive enterprise in Aristotle’s metaphysics and examines Whitehead and Quine’s criticisms of this approach to the formulation of a viable conceptual scheme for modern physics. The project of descriptive metaphysics and the concept of substance are rejected on both scientific and philosophical grounds.
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