Naturalism is the label for the thesis that the tools we should use in answering philosophical problems are the methods and findings of the mature sciences—from physics across to biology and increasingly neuroscience. It enables us to rule out answers to philosophical questions that are incompatible with scientific findings. It enables us to rule out epistemological pluralism—that the house of knowledge has many mansions, as well as skepticism about the reach of science. It bids us doubt that there are (...) facts about reality that science cannot grasp. It gives us confidence to assert that by now in the development of science, absence of evidence is prima facie good grounds for evidence of absence: this goes for God, and a great deal else. (shrink)
Introduction: From legal realism to naturalized jurisprudence -- A note on legal indeterminacy -- Part I. American legal realism and its critics -- Rethinking legal realism: toward a naturalized jurisprudence (1997) -- Legal realism and legal positivism reconsidered (2001) -- Is there an "American" jurisprudence? (1997) -- Postscript to Part I: Interpreting legal realism -- Part II. Ways of naturalizing jurisprudence -- Legal realism, hard positivism, and the limits of conceptual analysis (1998, 2001) -- Why Quine is not a postmodernist (...) (1997) -- Beyond the Hart/Dworkin debate: the methodology problem in jurisprudence (2003) -- Part III. Naturalism, morality, and objectivity -- Moral facts and best explanations (2001) -- Objectivity, morality, and adjudication (2001) -- Law and objectivity (2002). (shrink)
In this chapter I seek to examine the credibility of Finnis’s basic stance on Aquinas that while many neo-Thomists are meta-ethically naturalistic in their understanding of natural law theory (for example, Heinrich Rommen, Henry Veatch, Ralph McInerny, Russell Hittinger, Benedict Ashley and Anthony Lisska), Aquinas’s own meta-ethical framework avoids the “pitfall” of naturalism. On examination, the short of it is that I find Finnis’s account (while adroit) wanting in the interpretation stakes vis-à-vis other accounts of Aquinas’s meta-ethical foundationalism. I (...) think that the neo-Thomists are basically right to argue that for Aquinas we cannot really understand objective truths about moral standards unless we derive them from our intellective knowledge of natural facts as given to us by the essential human nature that we have. While I find Finnis’s interpretative position on Aquinas wanting, I go on to argue that his own attachment to non-naturalism is justified and should not be jettisoned. Because I think non-naturalism important to the future tenability of a viable natural law ethics (an ethics that is both cognitive and objectivist), I argue that Finnis should, so to speak, “beef up” his “fundamental option” for non-naturalism and more fully avail himself of certain argumentative strategies available in its defense, argumentative strategies that are inspired by the analytical philosophy of G.E. Moore. (shrink)
Alvin Plantinga has argued that evolutionary naturalism (the idea that God does not tinker with evolution) undermines its own rationality. Natural selection is concerned with survival and reproduction, and false beliefs conjoined with complementary motivational drives could serve the same aims as true beliefs. Thus, argues Plantinga, if we believe we evolved naturally, we should not think our beliefs are, on average, likely to be true, including our beliefs in evolution and naturalism. I argue herein that our cognitive (...) faculties are less reliable than we often take them to be, that it is theism which has difficulty explaining the nature of our cognition, that much of our knowledge is not passed through biological evolution but learned and transferred through culture, and that the unreliability of our cognition helps explain the usefulness of science. (shrink)
In "Two sorts of Naturalism" John McDowell is sketching his own sort of naturalism in ethics as an alternative to "bald naturalism". In this paper I distinguish materialist, idealist and absolute conceptions of nature and of naturalism in order to provide a framework for a clearer understanding of what McDowell’s own naturalism amounts to. I argue that nothing short of an absolute naturalism will do for a number of McDowell's own purposes, but that it (...) is far from obvious that this is his position. If he directly denies that it is, he seems to be left with some rather awkward choices. (shrink)
Many philosophers use “physicalism” and “naturalism” interchangeably. In this paper, I will distinguish ontological naturalism from physicalism. While broad versions of physicalism are compatible with naturalism, naturalism doesn't have to be committed to strong versions of physical reductionism, so it cannot be defined as equivalent to it. Instead of relying on the notion of ideal physics, naturalism can refer to the notion of ideal natural science that doesn't imply unity of science. The notion of ideal (...) natural science, as well as the notion of ideal physics, will be vindicated. I will shortly explicate the notion of ideal natural science, and define ontological naturalism based on it. (shrink)
This paper argues that a priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism—if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of the inessential properties that, historically, have been associated with the concept. I argue that empirical indefeasibility is essential to the primary notion of the a priori; however, the indefeasibility requirement should be interpreted in such a way that we can be fallibilist about apriori-justified claims. This fallibilist notion of the a priori accords with the (...) naturalist’s commitment to scientific methodology in that it allows for apriori-justified claims to be sensitive to further conceptual developments and the expansion of evidence. The fallibilist apriorist allows that an a priori claim is revisable in only a purely epistemic sense. This modal claim is weaker than what is required for a revisability thesis to establish empiricism, so fallibilist apriorism represents a distinct position. (shrink)
What are the conditions on a successful naturalistic account of moral properties? In this paper I discuss one such condition: the possibility of moral concepts playing a role in good empirical theories on a par with those of the natural and social sciences. I argue that Peter Railton’s influential account of moral rightness fails to meet this condition, and thus is only viable in the hands of a naturalist who doesn’t insist on it. This conclusion generalises to all versions of (...)naturalism that give a significant role to a dispositional characterisation of moral properties. I also argue, however, that the epistemological and semantic motivations behind naturalism are consistent with a version of naturalism that doesn’t insist on the explanatory condition. The conclusion is that those naturalists who are attracted to accounts of moral properties such as Railton’s would do better not to insist on this\break condition. (shrink)
This paper considers normative naturalism, understood as the view that (i) normative sentences are descriptive of the way things are, and (ii) their truth/falsity does not require ontology beyond the ontology of the natural world. Assuming (i) for the sake of argument, I here show that (ii) is false not only as applied to ethics, but more generally as applied to practical and epistemic normativity across the board. The argument is a descendant of Moore's Open Question Argument and Hume's (...) Is-Ought Gap. It goes roughly as follows: to ensure that natural ontology suffices for normative truth, there must be semantically grounded entailments from the natural truths to the normative truths. There are none. So natural ontology does not suffice for normative truth. (shrink)
While naturalism is used in positive senses by the tradition of analytical philosophy, with Ludwig Wittgenstein its best example, and by the tradition of phenomenology, with Maurice Merleau-Ponty its best exemplar, it also has an extremely negative sense on both of these fronts. Hence, both Merleau-Ponty and Wittgenstein in their basic thrusts adamantly reject reductionistic naturalism. Although Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology rejects the naturalism Husserl rejects, he early on found a place for the “truth of naturalism.” In a (...) parallel way, Wittgenstein accepts a certain positive sense of naturalism, while rejecting Quine’s kind of naturalism. It is the aim of this paper to investigate the common ground in the views of Wittgenstein and Merleau-Ponty regarding the naturalism that they each espouse and that which they each reject. (shrink)
Craig and Moreland present a rigorous analysis and critique of the major varieties of contemporary philosophical naturalism and advocate that it should be abandoned in light of the serious difficulties raised against it. The contributors draw on a wide range of topics including: epistemology, philosophy of science, value theory to basic analytic ontology, philosophy of mind and agency, and natural theology.
In recent controversies about Intelligent Design Creationism (IDC), the principle of methodological naturalism (MN) has played an important role. In this paper, an often neglected distinction is made between two different conceptions of MN, each with its respective rationale and with a different view on the proper role of MN in science. According to one popular conception, MN is a self-imposed or intrinsic limitation of science, which means that science is simply not equipped to deal with claims of the (...) supernatural (Intrinsic MN or IMN). Alternatively, we will defend MN as a provisory and empirically grounded attitude of scientists, which is justified in virtue of the consistent success of naturalistic explanations and the lack of success of supernatural explanations in the history of science (Provisory MN or PMN). Science does have a bearing on supernatural hypotheses, and its verdict is uniformly negative. We will discuss five arguments that have been proposed in support of IMN: the argument from the definition of science, the argument from lawful regularity, the science stopper argument, the argument from procedural necessity, and the testability argument. We conclude that IMN, because of its philosophical flaws, proves to be an ill-advised strategy to counter the claims of IDC. Evolutionary scientists are on firmer ground if they discard supernatural explanations on purely evidential grounds, instead of ruling them out by philosophical fiat. (shrink)
Throughout his career, Husserl identifies naturalism as the greatest threat to both the sciences and philosophy. In this paper, I explicate Husserl’s overall diagnosis and critique of naturalism and then examine the specific transcendental aspect of his critique. Husserl agreed with the Neo-Kantians in rejecting naturalism. He has three major critiques of naturalism: First, it (like psychologism and for the same reasons) is ‘countersensical’ in that it denies the very ideal laws that it needs for its (...) own justification. Second, naturalism essentially misconstrues consciousness by treating it as a part of the world. Third, naturalism is the inevitable consequence of a certain rigidification of the ‘natural attitude’ into what Husserl calls the ‘naturalistic attitude’. This naturalistic attitude ‘reifies’ and it ‘absolutizes’ the world such that it is treated as taken-for-granted and ‘obvious’. Husserl’s transcendental phenomenological analysis, however, discloses that the natural attitude is, despite its omnipresence in everyday life, not primary, but in fact is relative to the ‘absolute’ transcendental attitude. The mature Husserl’s critique of naturalism is therefore based on his acceptance of the absolute priority of the transcendental attitude . The paradox remains that we must start from and, in a sense, return to the natural attitude, while, at the same time, restricting this attitude through the on-going transcendental vigilance of the universal epoché. (shrink)
John McDowell has argued that for human needs to matter in practical deliberation, we must have already acquired the full range of character traits that are imparted by an ethical upbringing. Since our upbringings can diverge considerably, his argument makes trouble for any Aristotelian ethical naturalism that wants to support a single set of moral virtues. I argue here that there is a story to be told about the normal course of human life according to which it is no (...) coincidence that there is agreement on the virtues. Because we are creatures who arrive at personhood only by learning from others in a relation of dependency, we cannot help but see ourselves as creatures for whom non-instrumental rationality is the norm. Those who train others in personhood must view the trainee's interests as having a value independent of their interests and must imbue the trainee with a sense of that value. Extending and preserving the sense of self-worth that we must acquire if we are to acquire personhood requires we see ourselves as creatures who need something like the virtues. (shrink)
Since its original publication in 1979, The Possibility of Naturalism has been one of the most influential works in contemporary philosophy of science and social science. It is a cornerstone of the critical realist position, which is now widely seen as offering a viable alternative to move positivism and postmodernism. This revised edition includes a new foreword.
Alvin Plantinga has famously argued that metaphysical naturalism is self-defeating, and cannot be rationally accepted. I distinguish between two different ways of understanding this argument, which I call the "probabilistic inference conception", and the "process characteristic conception". I argue that the former is what critics of the argument usually presuppose, whereas most critical responses fail when one assumes the latter conception. To illustrate this, I examine three standard objections to Plantinga's evolutionary argument against naturalism: the Perspiration Objection, the (...) Tu Quoque Objection, and the "Why Can't the Naturalist Just Add a Little Something?" Objection. I show that Plantinga's own responses to these objections fail, and propose counterexamples to his first two principles of defeat. I then go on to construct more adequate responses to these objections, using the distinctions I develop in the first part of the paper. (shrink)
The critical focus of this paper is on a claim made explicitly by Gilbert Harman and accepted implicitly by numerous others, the claim that naturalism supports concurrent defense of scientific objectivism and moral relativism. I challenge the assumptions of Harman's ‘argument from naturalism' used to support this combination of positions, utilizing. Hilary Putnam’s ‘companions in guilt’ argument in order to counter it. The paper concludes that while domain-specific anti-realism is often warranted, Harman’s own views about the objectivity of (...) facts and the subjectivity of values are better seen as stemming from scientistic ideals of knowledge than from dictates of naturalism. Scientists qua scientists make value judgments, and setting aside scientistic assumptions and unrealizable conceptions of scientific objectivity should lead us to more symmetrical metaphilosophical conception of epistemic and ethical normativity than that which underlies Harman's account. (shrink)
The paper examines Derek Parfit’s claim that naturalism trivializes the agent’s practical argument and therefore abolishes the normativity of its conclusion. In the first section, I present Parfit’s charge in detail. After this I discuss three possible responses to the objection. I show that the first two responses either fail or are inconclusive. Trying to avoid Parfit’s charge by endorsing irreductionist naturalism is not a solution because this form of naturalism is metaphysically untenable. Non- descriptive naturalism, (...) on the other hand, does not answer the pressing concern behind Parfit’s charge. I conclude that we had better turn to the third response: Peter Railton’s vindicatory reductionism. However, I also argue that naturalism can only avoid triviality in this way if it is able to respond to further challenges concerning the vindication of the reduction it proposes. Hence, though not a knockdown argument as it is intended to be, Parfit’s charge can still pose a threat to naturalist accounts of normativity. (shrink)
In this paper, I argue that Nietzsche’s published works contain a substantial, although implicit, argument for the will to power as ontology—a critical and descriptive, rather than positive and explanatory, theory of reality. Further, I suggest this ontology is entirely consistent with a naturalist methodology. The will to power ontology follows directly from Nietzsche’s naturalist rejection of three metaphysical presuppositions: substance, efficient causality, and final causality. I show that a number of interpretations, including those of Clark, Schacht, Reginster, and Richardson, (...) are inconsistent with Nietzsche’s naturalism, because they presuppose efficient or final causality. In contrast, I argue that the will to power is not an explanatory theory, but a description of the basic, necessary character of reality, designed to critically reveal and minimize metaphysical presuppositions—to reject false explanations of reality and human behavior. It avoids substance-metaphysics by describing reality as will, a causal process without discrete efficient causes or agents. It eliminates efficient causality by describing events as maximal manifestations of power, rather than as agent-actualized potentialities. Finally, it opposes teleology by describing life as tending toward the activity of resistance as such, rather than toward explanatory end-states, such as the accumulation of power or overcoming of resistances. (shrink)
It is widely accepted that the ethical supervenes on the natural, where this is roughly the claim that it is impossible for two circumstances to be identical in all natural respects, but different in their ethical respects. This chapter refines and defends the traditional thought that this fact poses a significant challenge to ethical non-naturalism, a view on which ethical properties are fundamentally different in kind from natural properties. The challenge can be encapsulated in three core claims which the (...) chapter defends: that a defensible non-naturalism is committed to the supervenience of the ethical, that this commits the non-naturalist to a brute necessary connection between properties of distinct kinds, and that commitment to such brute connections counts against the non-naturalist’s view. Each of these claims has recently been challenged. Against Nicholas Sturgeon’s recent doubts about the dialectical force of supervenience, this chapter defends a supervenience thesis as deserving to be common ground among ethical realists. It is then argued that attempts to explain supervenience on behalf of the non-naturalist either fail as explanations, generate near-identical explanatory burdens elsewhere, or appeal to commitments that are inconsistent with core motivations for non-naturalism. The chapter concludes that, suitably refined, the traditional argument against nonnaturalism from supervenience is alive and well. (shrink)
Pragmatism’s naturalism is inconsistent with the phenomenological tradition’s anti-naturalism. This poses a problem for the methodological consistency of phenomenological work in the pragmatist tradition. Solutions such as phenomenologizing naturalism or naturalizing phenomenology have been proposed, but they fail. As a consequence, pragmatists and other naturalists must answer the phenomenological tradition’s criticisms of naturalism.
widely held commitments: to phenomenal realism and to naturalism. Phenomenal realism is the view that (a) we are phenomenally consciousness, and that (b) there is no a priori or armchair sufficient condition for phenomenal consciousness that can be stated (non- circularly) in nonphenomenal terms (p.392).1,2 Block points out that while phenomenal realists reject.
Naturalism and the Human Condition is a compelling account of why naturalism, or the "scientific world-view" cannot provide a full account of who and what we are as human beings. Drawing on sources including Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl and Sartre, Olafson exposes the limits of naturalism and stresses the importance of serious philosophical investigation of human nature.
Support for the biological concept of race declined slowly but steadily during the second half of the twentieth century. However, debate about the validity of the race concept has recently been reignited. Genetic-clustering studies have shown that despite the small proportion of genetic variation separating continental populations, it is possible to assign some (geographically separated and not recently admixed) individuals to their (or their ancestors’) continents of origin, based on genetic data alone. Race naturalists have interpreted these studies as empirically (...) confirming the existence of human subspecies, and by extension biological races. However, the new racial naturalism is not convincing. The continental clusters appealed to by race naturalists are arbitrary and superficial groupings, which should not be elevated to subspecies status. Moreover, the criteria applied to humans are not consistent with those used to define subspecies in nonhuman animals, and no rationale has been given for this differential treatment. (shrink)
Paper given at the 20th Biennial Meeting of the Hegel Society of America, University of South Carolina, October 24-26, 2008 -/- The local problem of the soul-body relation can be grasped only against the global background of the relation between Nature and Spirit. This relates to Hegel's naturalism: the idea that there is one single reality - living reality - and different levels of description of it. This implies, moreover, that it is possible to ascribe some form of naturality (...) also to the social body of institutionalized ethical life. Hegel’s position can thus be characterised as a kind of aristotelian social naturalism: this, at bottom, is the combined meaning of the Hegelian theses that soul is the substance of Spirit, and habit its universal form. (shrink)
It has been thought that the prospects for non-naturalism about normativity may be significantly advanced if non-naturalists take the relation of being a reason as the basic normative entity, and so if, inter alia, they endorse a buck-passing account of value. This is thought to yield theoretical benefits regarding (i) the open question argument, (ii) the defence against the charge of queerness, and (iii) demands of parsimony. In the paper I contest these claims. Non- naturalists need not focus on (...) reasons, and so need not, as non-naturalists, endorse a buck-passing account of value. They can choose to hold evaluative notions to be the basic ones, or to have a (reasoned) plurality of basic normative concepts and properties. The debate with the naturalist in those three respects is not going to be significantly influenced by such preliminary conceptual decisions. (shrink)
The term ‘naturalism’ has a long and complex history in modern philosophy. W.V.O. Quine famously advocated what has come to be known as a ‘naturalistic turn’ for philosophy as a discipline, meaning that philosophical thought should become continuous with the natural sciences – even claiming that epistemology (theory of knowledge) is nothing but applied psychology.
Philosophical naturalism, according to which philosophy is continuous with the natural sciences, has dominated the Western academy for well over a century, but Michael Rea claims that it is without rational foundation. Rea argues compellingly to the surprising conclusion that naturalists are committed to rejecting realism about material objects, materialism, and perhaps realism about other minds.
To the memory of Ian McFetridge 1948?1988 The general concern of the essay is with the question of whether cognitive states can be accounted for in naturalistic (i.e. physicalist) terms. An argument is presented to the effect that they cannot. This turns on the idea that cognitive states involve modes of presentation the identity and individuation conditions of which are ineliminably both intentional and intensional and consequently they cannot be accounted for in terms of physico?causal powers. In connection with this (...) the recent attempt by Robert Stalnaker to provide a naturalistic theory of intentionality is examined and rejected. In conclusion it is suggested that a more radical solution to the problem of how to relate cognitive and material phenomena may be available in the pluralistic naturalism of Aquinas (and, perhaps, Wittgenstein). (shrink)
There is overwhelming agreement amongst naturalists that a naturalistic ontology should not allow for the possibility of supernatural entities. I argue, against this prevailing consensus, that naturalists have no proper basis to oppose the existence of supernatural entities. Naturalism is characterized, following Leiter and Rea, as a position which involves a primary commitment to scientific methodology and it is argued that any naturalistic ontological commitments must be compatible with this primary commitment. It is further argued that properly applied scientific (...) method has warranted the acceptance of the existence of supernatural entities in the past and that it is plausible to think that it will do so again in the future. So naturalists should allow for the possibility of supernatural entities. (shrink)
On the basis of Levin’s claim that truth is not a scientific explanatory factor, Michel Ghins argues that the “no miracle” argument (NMA) is not scientific, therefore scientific realism is not a scientific hypothesis, and naturalism is wrong. I argue that there are genuine senses of ‘scientific’ and ‘explanation’ in which truth can yield scientific explanations. Hence, the NMA can be considered scientific in the sense that it hinges on a scientific explanation, it follows a typically scientific inferential pattern (...) (IBE), and it is based on an empirical fact (the success of science). Scientific realism, in turn, is scientific in the sense that it is supported both by a meta-level scientific argument (the NMA), and by first level scientific arguments through semantic ascent and generalization. However, both the NMA and scientific realism are not purely scientific, since they go beyond properly scientific concerns, and require additional philosophical reasoning. In turn, naturalism is correct in the sense that philosophy is continuous with science, partly based on it, and potentially equally well warranted. Beside denying the scientific nature of the NMA, Ghins raises some objections to its cogency , to which I reply in the final section. (shrink)
Naturalism in Mathematics investigates how the most fundamental assumptions of mathematics can be justified. One prevalent philosophical approach to the problem--realism--is examined and rejected in favor of another approach--naturalism. Penelope Maddy defines this naturalism, explains the motivation for it, and shows how it can be successfully applied in set theory. Her clear, original treatment of this fundamental issue is informed by current work in both philosophy and mathematics, and will be accessible and enlightening to readers from both (...) disciplines. (shrink)
There is a puzzle over how to understand Nietzsche’s view of science. According to what I call the Skeptical View, Nietzsche thinks science should be reconceived or superseded by another discourse, such as art, because it is nihilistic. By contrast, what call the Positive View holds that Nietzsche does not think science is nihilistic, so he denies that it should be reinterpreted or overcome. Interestingly, defenders of each position appeal to Nietzsche’s understanding of naturalism to support their interpretation. This (...) essay argues that Nietzsche embraces a social constructivist conception of causality that renders his naturalism incompatible with the views of naturalism attributed to him by the two dominant readings. (shrink)
There are three major theses in Plantinga’s latest version of his evolutionary argument against naturalism. (1) Given materialism, the conditional probability of the reliability of human cognitive mechanisms produced by evolution is low; (2) the same conditional probability given reductive or non-reductive materialism is still low; (3) the most popular naturalistic theories of content and truth are not admissible for naturalism. I argue that Plantinga’s argument for (1) presupposes an anti-materialistic conception of content, and it therefore begs the (...) question against materialism. To argue for (2), Plantinga claims that the adaptiveness of a belief is indifferent to its truth. I argue that this claim is unsupported unless it again assumes an anti-materialistic conception of content and truth. I further argue that Plantinga’s argument for (3) is not successful either, because an improved version of teleosemantics can meet his criticisms. Moreover, this version of teleosemantics implies that the truth of a belief is (probabilistically) positively related to its adaptiveness, at least for simple beliefs about physical objects in human environments. This directly challenges Plantinga’s claim that adaptiveness is indifferent to truth. (shrink)
Erratum to: Naturalism, fallibilism, and the a priori Content Type Journal Article Category Erratum Pages 1-1 DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9889-4 Authors Lisa Warenski, Philosophy, Union College, Humanities 216B, 807 Union Street, Schenectady, NY 12308, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
In this paper, I review Quine's response to the normativity charge against naturalized epistemology. On this charge, Quine's naturalized epistemology neglects the essential normativity of the traditional theory of knowledge and hence cannot count as its successor. According to Quine, normativity is retained in naturalism as ‘the technology of truth-seeking’. I first disambiguate Quine's naturalism into three programs of increasing strength and clarify the strongest program by means of the so-called Epistemic Skinner Box. Then, I investigate two ways (...) in which the appeal to technology as normative enterprise can be made good. I argue that neither coheres with other aspects of Quine's philosophy, most notably the elimination of intentionality. Finally, I briefly consider a third reconstruction of the response, which involves an extension of the web of “belief” to practical know-how. I conclude that the normativity of Quine's (strong) naturalism cannot be found in the technology of truth-seeking. (shrink)
Philosophers have nothing to lose, and much to gain, by paying close attention to developments in the natural sciences. This insight amounts to a case for a tempered, eclectic naturalism. But the case for naturalism is often overstated. We should not overestimate the heuristic benefits of close attention to scientists’ claims, nor should we give up on traditional “armchair” philosophical methods. We should not draw solely on the natural sciences (at the expense of the humanities) when seeking to (...) enrich and discipline our philosophical theorising. Finally, philosophers should not shy away from criticising some scientists’ claims, at the same time as they learn from others. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction; 1. Naturalism in moral philosophy Gilbert Harman; 2. Normativity and reasons: five arguments from Parfit against normative naturalism David Copp; 3. Naturalism: feel the width Roger Crisp; 4. On ethical naturalism and the philosophy of language Frank Jackson; 5. Metaethical pluralism: how both moral naturalism and moral skepticism may be permissible positions Richard Joyce; 6. Moral naturalism and categorical reasons Terence Cuneo; 7. Does analytical moral naturalism rest on (...) a mistake? Susana Nuccetelli and Gary Seay; 8. Supervenience and the nature of normativity Michael Ridge; 9. Can normativity be naturalized? Robert Audi; 10. Ethical non-naturalism and experimental philosophy Robert Shaver; 11. Externalism, motivation, and moral knowledge Sergio Tenenbaum; 12. Naturalism, absolutism, relativism Michael Smith. (shrink)
This paper addresses two related questions. First, what is involved in giving a distinctively realist and naturalist construal of an area of discourse, that is, in so much as stating a distinctively realist and naturalist position about, for example, content or value? I defend a condition that guarantees the realism and naturalism of any position satisfying it, at least in the case of positions on content, but perhaps in other cases as well. Second, what sorts of considerations render a (...) distinctively realist and naturalist position more plausible than its irrealist and non-naturalist rivals? The answer here focuses again on theories of content and is wholly negative. I argue that the standard array of arguments offered in support of realist and naturalist theories in fact provide equal support for a host of irrealist and non-naturalist ones. Taken together, these considerations reveal an important gap in the recent philosophical literature on content. The challenge to proponents of putatively realist and naturalist theories is to insure that those theories so much as state distinctively realist and naturalist positions and then to identify arguments that support what is distinctively realist and naturalist about them. (shrink)
Phillip Johnson claims that Creationism is a better explanation of the existence and characteristics of biological species than is evolutionary theory. He argues that the only reason biologists do not recognize that Creationist's negative arguments against Darwinism have proven this is that they are wedded to a biased ideological philosophy —Naturalism — which dogmatically denies the possibility of an intervening creative god. However,Johnson fails to distinguish Ontological Naturalism from Methodological Naturalism. Science makes use of the latter and (...) I show how it is not dogmatic but follows from sound requirements for empirical evidential testing. Furthermore, Johnson has no serious alternative type of positive evidence to offer for Creationism, and purely negative argumentation, despite his attempt to legitimate it, will not suffice. (shrink)
In this article I investigate several "sorts of naturalism" that have been advanced in recent years as possible foundations for virtue ethics: those of Michael Thompson, Philippa Foot, Rosalind Hursthouse, John McDowell, and Larry Arnhart. Each of these impressive attempts fails in illuminatingly different ways, and in the opening sections I analyze what has gone variously wrong. I next use this analysis to articulate four criteria that any successful Aristotelian naturalism must meet (my goal is to show what (...)naturalism must deliver, not yet to show that it can deliver it). I then look at Alasdair MacIntyre's approach, which begins with our natural trajectory from complete dependency toward becoming independent practical reasoners; I argue that this sort of naturalism meets the aforementioned criteria and thus provides a good example of what Aristotelian naturalists must do. I close with a consideration of two important objections to any broadly MacIntyrean sort of naturalism. (shrink)
The contributors to this volume engage with issues of normativity within naturalised philosophy. The issues are critical to naturalism as most traditional notions in philosophy, such as knowledge, justification or representation, are said to involve normativity. Some of the contributors pursue the question of the correct place of normativity within a naturalised ontology, with emergentist and eliminativist answers offered on neighbouring pages. Others seek to justify particular norms within a naturalised framework, the more surprising ones including naturalist takes on (...) the a priori and intuitions. Finally, yet others examine concrete examples of the application of norms within particular epistemic endeavours, such as psychopathology and design. The overall picture is that of an intimate engagement with issues of normativity on the part of naturalist philosophers – questioning some of the fundamentals at the same time as they try to work out many of the details. (shrink)
Naturalism refers to the naturalism of the Scottish school of "Common Sense" philosophy. Contrary to popular belief which regards Hume primarily as an empiricist, Mounce regards him as a naturalist, and shows how his philosophy combined both empiricist and naturalist tendencies. This book provides an overall perspective of Hume's work, and deals specifically with his masterpieces, The Treatise on Human Nature and The Dialogues On Natural Religion . H. (...) O. Mounce's interpretation is clear, and written in an elegant style. (shrink)
In this article (1) I extract from Brentano’s works (three) formal arguments against “genealogical explanations” of ethical claims. Such explanation can also be designated as “naturalism” (not his appellation); (2) I counter these arguments, by showing how genealogical explanations of even apodictic moral claims are logically possible (albeit only if certain unlikely, stringent conditions are met); (3) I show how Nietzsche’s ethics meets these stringent conditions, but evolutionary ethics does not. My more general thesis is that naturalism and (...) intuitionism in ethics need not be mutually incompatible. (shrink)
I am not equipped with capacities which fit one for the office of a lexicographical autocrat, and I shall make no attempt to tell what naturalism must or should signify. But I may take advantage of the opportunity to say what empirical naturalism, or naturalistic empiricism, means to me. I can not hope to offer anything new, or anything which I have not said many times already. But perhaps by concentrating on this point I may make the tenor (...) of my thinking clearer, and incidentally throw some light on why it appears, from two opposite ends of the philosophic gamut, to be half-hearted. (shrink)
Contemporary philosophy’s three main naturalisms are methodological, ontological and epistemological. Methodological naturalism states that the only authoritative standards are those of science. Ontological and epistemological naturalism respectively state that all entities and all valid methods of inquiry are in some sense natural. In philosophy of mathematics of the past few decades methodological naturalism has received the lion’s share of the attention, so we concentrate on this. Ontological and epistemological naturalism in the philosophy of mathematics are discussed (...) more briefly in section 6. (shrink)