Naturalism in Epistemology and the Philosophy of Law

Law and Philosophy 30 (4):419-451 (2011)
In this paper, I challenge an influential understanding of naturalization according to which work on traditional problems in the philosophy of law should be replaced with sociological or psychological explanations of how judges decide cases. W.V. Quine famously proposed the ‘naturalization of epistemology’. In a prominent series of papers and a book, Brian Leiter has raised the intriguing idea that Quine’s naturalization of epistemology is a useful model for philosophy of law. I examine Quine’s naturalization of epistemology and Leiter’s suggested parallel and argue that the parallel does not hold up. Even granting Leiter’s substantive assumption that the law is indeterminate, there is no philosophical confusion or overreaching in the legal case that is parallel to the philosophical overreaching of Cartesian foundationalism in epistemology. Moreover, if we take seriously Leiter’s analogy, the upshot is almost the opposite of what Leiter suggests. The closest parallel in the legal case to Quine’s position would be the rejection of the philosophical positions that lead to the indeterminacy thesis
Keywords Philosophy   Political Science   Social Sciences, general   Law Theory/Law Philosophy   Logic   Philosophy of Law
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DOI 10.1007/s10982-011-9109-y
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References found in this work BETA
Willard V. O. Quine (1951). Two Dogmas of Empiricism. Philosophical Review 60 (1):20–43.

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Brian Leiter (2009). Naturalizing Jurisprudence. In John R. Shook & Paul Kurtz (eds.), The Future of Naturalism. Humanity Books
András Kertész (2002). On the de-Naturalization of Epistemology. Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 33 (2):269-288.
A. Rosenberg (1999). Naturalistic Epistemology for Eliminative Materialists. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (2):335-358.
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