Sahana Rajan

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Many say that metaphysics is, for all effective purposes, a battleground of abandoned theories. Most of these theories seem to have originated in intuitive imagination of thoerists, heavily soaked in conceptual analysis. In the war of ontologies, not many have come out alive. Perhaps, the weapons were not adequate for the rich density of our world? Perhaps, intuition and conceptual analysis alone cannot latch onto reality sufficiently.

In the past decade, substantial critiques of analytic metaphysics have emerged, focusing on the deficiencies of intuition and conceptual analysis. An alternate route to track our world has taken the shape of scientific metaphysics, which derives metaphysical claims through tight corroboration with scientific theories. Can the weapons of scientific metaphysics join intuition and conceptual analysis to read the metaphysics of our world?

The workings of scientific metaphysics form a critical part of my research. As a metaphysician of science, I intend to evaluate scientific metaphysics from a critical rationalist perspective.

Nunzio Paci Over the past few years, I have also committed to the practice of a way of life, represented by the Carvaka philosophical system of India. As a member of the Indian community of philosophy, my sincere hope is to academically investigate the multiple dimensions of the system, as well as spread the Carvaka worldview in popular philosophy. To the left is a wondrous painting by Nunzio Paci which reflects the commitment of Carvaka to this-world, rejecting the notions of atman (roughly, soul) and embracing the dark, yet rich intricacies of life and death.

Another line of inquiry which greatly excites me is the role of theoretical virtues in vetting metaphysical theories. Can the protocol of theory choice applicable to scientific theories be transferred to choosing between metaphysical theories? What form do theoretical virtues take in metaphysics? These are some of the questions which dominate my research. I am also exploring the role of ideological parsimony in scientific metaphysics, to reveal the ways in which our tendency to speculate and develop claims over and beyond those warranted by the available empirical evidence can quietly sneak into our metaphysical theories.


Area of Specialization: Metaphysics of Science, Carvaka Philosophy, Theoretical Virtues

Current institutional affiliation: Doctoral Research Fellow at University of Delhi (India)

Previous research: On brain as a complex system and emergence of mind (under supervision of Dr. R.M.Singh)


© Sahana Rajan