on how metaphysicians need help from meta-metaphysicians

TLS_Mulligan_373850hKevin Mulligan at the Times Literary Supplement:

Metaphysics is one of philosophy’s more abstract parts. Meta-metaphysics, the abstract reflection on the nature of metaphysics, might be thought to be one level of abstraction too many. But A. W. Moore’s examination of the meta-metaphysics of twenty philosophers (from Descartes to David Lewis and Gilles Deleuze) argues that metaphysics and meta-metaphysics need each other. For metaphysics, on Moore’s view, is the attempt to make sense of things which is more general than any other attempt; and this search for generality requires metaphysicians to try to make sense also of this sense-making activity. Moore’s concentration on the history and philosophy of meta-metaphysics allows him to impose a narrative order on the evolution of metaphysics over four centuries. Descartes, Lewis and Deleuze are given a chapter apiece, as are Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Frege, Carnap, Quine, Dummett, Nietzsche, Bergson, Husserl, Heidegger, Collingwood and Derrida. Wittgenstein gets two.

Moore asks three central meta-metaphysical questions. There is the Transcendence Question: can we make sense of “transcendent” things? Then there is the Novelty Question: can we make sense of things in radically new ways? Finally there is the Creativity Question: can we be creative in our sense-making, perhaps in a way that admits of no distinction between being right or wrong, or are we limited to looking for the sense that things already make?

more here.