A long-standing motivation for my philosophical work has been the relationship -- sometimes adversarial, sometimes conversational -- between "science" and "religion." [I come to this relationship as someone who has strong undergraduate background in science (neuroscience and paleontology) and as someone who does not identify with a particular religious institution but who nevertheless feels the pull of religious experience.]
Much like Richard Rorty, Hilary Putnam, Stanly Cavell, and Jurgen Habermas, I want to find a way of resisting the temptation to endorse or create a doctrinal metaphysics -- not even a metaphysics of becoming, process, or "difference" in the senses of Nietzsche, Dewey, Whitehead, or Deleuze. (Despite my strong affinity for such metaphysics!)
(This is not to say that I think one can simply dispense with metaphysics; rather I tend to think, along with Cavell and Putnam, that the temptation to metaphysics is deeply ingrained in the Western psyche. I would not want to interpret this temptation as a transhistorical dimension of the human condition, but neither is it something that can be lightly thrown off, as Rorty seems to think.)
The crux of my pragmatic pluralism is that the question "what is there?" must always be re-phrased as "what is there in which respect?" For only when that latter question is answered do we have a specified domain the entities of which can be considered. For example, consider the question, "does Sherlock Holmes' wife exist?" This question can only be answered by first specifying the domain of discourse which is relevant. If the domain of discourse is "the real world," then the answer is "no" (but neither does Holmes, of course). If the domain of discourse is "the world of the Holmes stories as authored by Doyle," then the answer is "no" (but for a different reason -- because Holmes never married.)
But this line of thought works not only for literary creations -- it works just the same way for all discursive practices. Quarks and protons certainly exist -- within the framework of modern quantum mechanics. (Whether we will still say that they exist within the framework of whatever theory eventually succeeds quantum mechanics is an open question!) And even in ordinary language, we are confronted with a plurality of ways of distinguishing between aspects of lived experience.
Suppose I had had chicken for dinner last night instead of steak. Then I today would be a different system of molecules. But it seems odd (to say the least!) that I would therefore be a different person. One might be tempted to side with dualism here. But my alternative is to insist that there is no deep and fundamental truth of "what I am", tout court. Considering me as a system of molecules, and considering me as a person, are not different metaphysical realities -- they are different ways of considering, which is to say, different ways of using language. (As Rorty would say, they are different "vocabularies".)
If one succumbs to the temptation of metaphysics (and it is difficult not to succumb), then one will be interpret science, and/or religion, as metaphysical doctrines. And that is the decisive move which is taken for granted, and which I want to avoid. For once that move is made, everything else follows. Only then can one ask if science and religion are concerned with the same reality or different realities, e.g. "natural" and "supernatural". Or assert that where science and religion conflict, one or the other must be rejected. Both hard-core theism and hard-core atheism emerge only once it is accepted that metaphysics is the only way of speaking.
By contrast, the pluralism I want to develop here is a way of sidestepping the metaphysical impulse entirely. Instead, the question is one of which entities we are committed to speaking about when we employ a certain vocabulary (that of genetics, physics, psychology, literature, art, music, philosophy, etc.). In my terms, the temptation of metaphysics is the dream of a final, absolute, and uniquely correct vocabulary in terms of which everything real can be described. And that dream is one from which I have not only awoken but from which I find myself in the process of constantly having to awaken myself from.