Joseph Carroll writes in his book Literary Darwinism that the "metaphysical cast of mind" is characterized by a "naive humanistic faith in the supreme efficacy of grandiose abstractions" and a "credulous susceptibility to 'Big Words.'" He contrasts this with the scientific approach (exemplified, according to Carroll, in Robert Storey's book Mimesis and the Human Animal), which places its faith instead in a "cumulative and self-correcting body of empirical information" (Carroll 59).
I love the turn of phrase (said the rambling humanist) and I think he has a point. Sobriety of style is something all serious writers should strive for. On the other hand, if philosophy and literary criticism could be fully assimilated into said "cumulative and self-correcting body of empirical information," we'd probably call them physics, biology and information theory.
I will continue to put my own (possibly naive) humanistic faith in the curious gods of our universe, science among them.
(Image from www.bilkent.edu.tr)