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)
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.
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)
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)
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 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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
Nonreductive naturalism holds that we can preserve the (scientifically valued) metaphysical truth of physicalism while averting the methodological mistakes of reductionism. Acceptable scientificexplanation need not (in some cases cannot and in many cases, should not) be formulated in the language of physical science. Persuasive arguments about the properties of phenomenal consciousnesspurport to show that physicalism is false, namely that phenomenal experience is a nonphysical fact. I examine two recent, comprehensive efforts to naturalize phenomenal consciousness and argue thatnonreductive naturalism (...) yields a dilemma of reductionism or panpsychism. (shrink)
For the political naturalist, skepticism about political obligations only arises because of a basic confusion about the necessity of the state for human well-being. From this perspective, human beings are naturally political animals and cannot flourish outside of political relationships. In this paper, I suggest that this idea can be developed in two basic ways. For the thick naturalist, political institutions are constitutive of the best life. For the thin naturalist, they secure the basic background conditions of peace and stability (...) that are necessary for any minimally decent human life. Both approaches, however, are problematic, and while political institutions might have a special kind of value for human well-being, it is difficult to convert this claim into a justification for political obligations. (shrink)
This article explores the possibility of naturalized theory of action. It distinguishes ontological naturalism from conceptual naturalism, and asks whether a defensible theory of action can be either ontologically or conceptually naturalistic. The distinction between conditions for an ontology and conditions for a concept receives support from Donald Davidson's identification of two modes of explanation for action: rational and physical causal explanation. Davidson's action theory provides a naturalized ontology for action theory, but not a naturalized concept of intentional (...) action. This article raises doubts about Davidson's basis for such one-sided naturalism. It examines some conditions for a mode of explanation, in order to clarify whether an intentional mode of explanation might have ontological significance and thus raise problems for ontological naturalism. The article argues for the central role of certain instrumental factors in explanatory strategies, whether naturalistic or intentional; and it casts doubt on Jaegwon Kim's recent argument that intentional psychology and neuroscience are mutually exclusive as explanatory strategies. A key lesson is that variable end-dependent reasons are our only wherewithal in the evaluation of explanatory strategies. In this sense, our explanatory strategies are ultimately instrumental and perspectival. The article draws out the implications of this lesson for naturalized action theory and for psychological explanation. It opposes any suggested monopoly on explanation from the physical sciences. (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 considering the debate about the meaning of ‘disease’, the positions are generally presented as falling into two categories: naturalist, e.g., Boorse, and normativist, e.g., Engelhardt and many others. This division is too coarse, and obscures much of what is going on in this debate. I therefore propose that accounts of the meaning of ‘disease’ be assessed according to Hare’s (1997) taxonomy of evaluative terms. Such an analysis will allow us to better understand both individual positions and their inter-relationships. Most (...) importantly, it will show that it is unlikely that there is a single unique disease-concept at issue. Rather, different authors are, for the most part, considering different concepts. (shrink)
Part I: The birth of religious naturalism -- Philosophical religious naturalism -- Theological religious naturalism -- Analyzing the issues -- Interlude religious naturalism in literature -- Part II: The rebirth of religious naturalism -- Sources of religious insight -- Current issues in religious naturalism -- Other current religious naturalists -- Conclusion: Living religiously as a naturalist.
'ith the rise of naturalism in the art of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance there developed an extensive and diverse literature about art which helped to explain, justify, and shape its new aims. In this book, David Summers provides an original investigation of the philosophical and psychological notions invoked in this new theory and criticism. From a thorough examination of the sources, he shows how the medieval language of mental discourse derived from an understanding of classical thought. (...) 'Some of the most striking observations in this impressive book involve stepping outside the history of ideas to ground these theories in a more general social history.' -- British Journal of Aesthetics 'This brilliant, stimulating study in the history of ideas should become indispensible for renaissance art historians, and for philosophers interested in the history of the philosophy of mind and in what might be called thepre-history' of aesthetics.' -- ChoiceWith the rise of naturalism in the art of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance there developed an extensive and diverse literature about art which helped to explain. (shrink)
In recent years, Robert Adams and Richard Swinburne have developed an argument for God’s existence from the reality of mental phenomena. Call this the argument from consciousness (AC). My purpose is to develop and defend AC and to use it as a rival paradigm to critique John Searle’s biological naturalism. The article is developed in three steps. First, two issues relevant to the epistemic task of adjudicating between rival scientific paradigms (basicality and naturalness) are clarified and illustrated. Second, I (...) present a general version of AC and identify the premises most likely to come under attack by philosophical naturalists. Third, I use the insights gained in steps one and two to criticize Searle’s claim that he has developed an adequate naturalistic theory of the emergence of mental entities. I conclude that AC is superior to Searle’s biological naturalism. (shrink)
One of the major historical effects of Quine’s attacks upon the analytic-synthetic distinction has been to popularise the belief that philosophy is continuous with science. Currently, most philosophers believe that such continuity is an inevitable consequence of naturalism. This article argues that though Quine’s semantic holism does imply that there is no sharp distinction between truths discoverable by scientific investigation and truths discoverable by philosophical investigation, it also implies that there is a perfectly sharp and natural distinction between natural (...) science and naturalistic philosophy. (shrink)
Introduction -- Direct realism. An introduction to direct realism : the views of D.M. Armstrong -- The representationalism of Dretske, Tye, and Lycan -- Searle's naturalism and the prospects for knowledge -- Philosophy as science : neuroscience, neurophilosophy, and naturalized epistemology. Cognitive science, philosophy, and our knowledge of reality, pt. 1. The views of David Papineau -- Cognitive science, philosophy, and our knowledge of reality, pt. 2. The views of Daniel Dennett -- Can the Churchlands' neurocomputational theory cognition ground (...) a viable epistemology? (by Errin Clark) -- Other alternatives, and naturalism's future. Other proposals : Pollock's internalism, Kim's functionalism (with Peggy Burke), and more externalist considerations -- The future directions of naturalism -- A positive case for our knowledge of reality -- Methodological naturalism and the scientific method, and other implications. (shrink)
This comprehensive collection, bringing together significant essays by leading philosophers of the twentieth century, represents one prominent school of American thought philosophic naturalism. Naturalism holds that nature is objective and can be studied to gain knowledge that is not determined by methodology, perspective, belief, or theory. For the naturalist, "nature" is an all-encompassing concept; nothing is other than natural and any notion of a supernatural realm is rejected. Naturalism, however, cannot be equated with materialistic reductionism or strict (...) determinism. Certain nonmaterial aspects of human existence thoughts, feelings, meanings, values, beliefs, ideals, and free will are included within the scope of the naturalist's approach. (shrink)
Naturalism is currently the most vibrantly developing approach to philosophy, with naturalised methodologies being applied across all the philosophical disciplines. One of the areas naturalism has been focussing upon is the mind, traditionally viewed as a topic hard to reconcile with the naturalistic worldview. A number of questions have been pursued in this context. What is the place of the mind in the world? How should we study the mind as a natural phenomenon? What is the significance of (...) cognitive science research for philosophical debates? In this book, philosophical questions about the mind are asked in the context of recent developments in cognitive science, evolutionary theory, psychology, and the project of the naturalisation. Much of the focus is upon what we have learned by studying natural mental mechanisms as well as designing artificial ones. In the case of natural mental mechanisms, this includes consideration of such issues as the significance of deficits in these mechanisms for psychiatry. The significance of the evolutionary context for mental mechanisms as well as questions regarding rationality and wisdom is also explored. Mechanistic and functional models of the mind are used to throw new light on discussions regarding issues of explanation, reduction and the realisation of mental phenomena. Finally, naturalistic approaches are used to look anew at such traditional philosophical issues as the correspondence of mind to world and presuppositions of scientific research. (shrink)
The debate concerning the role of intuitions in philosophy has been characterized by a fundamental disagreement between two main camps. The first, the autonomists, hold that, due to the use in philosophical investigation of appeals to intuition, most of the central questions of philosophy can in principle be answered by philosophical investigation and argument without relying on the sciences. The second, the naturalists, deny the possibility of a priori knowledge and are skeptical of the role of intuition in providing evidence (...) in philosophical inquiry. In spite of the seemingly stark and deep disagreement between the autonomist and the naturalist, in this paper I will attempt to suggest that there is a way to mount a partial defense of intuition-based philosophical practice on naturalist grounds. As will be seen, doing so will require a number of concessions that will satisfy few autonomists while simultaneously disappointing those naturalists who might have thought that all notions of the a priori had been successfully laid to rest. However, I will argue that the account proposed here will preserve those features of traditional philosophical practice that matter most and better explain the history of successes and failures of that practice, thus answering the worries of the autonomist, and that the rejection of the No A Priori Thesis attendant with the account presented here is indeed demanded by the current theories of our best scientific understanding of the mind, thus pacifying the rabid naturalistic critic of any version of apriorism. (shrink)
In traditional armchair methodology, philosophers attempt to challenge a thesis of the form ‘F iff G’ or ‘F only if G’ by describing a scenario that elicits the intuition that what has been described is an F that isn’t G. If they succeed, then the judgment that there is, or could be, an F that is not G counts as good prima facie evidence against the target thesis. Moreover, if these intuitions remain compelling after further (good faith) reflection, then traditional (...) armchair methodology takes the judgment to be serious (though not infallible) evidence against the target thesis—call it secunda facie evidence—that should not be discounted as long as those intuitions retain their force. Some philosophers, however, suggest that this methodology is incompatible with epistemological naturalism, the view that philosophical inquiry should be sensitive to empirical observations, and argue that traditional armchair methodology must deemphasize the role of intuitions in philosophical inquiry. In my view, however, this would be a mistake: as I will argue, the most effective way to promote philosophical progress is to treat intuitions as having the (prima and secunda) evidential status I’ve described. But I will also argue that philosophical inquiry can produce a theory that is sensitive to empirical observations and the growth of empirical knowledge, even if it gives intuitions the prima- and secunda-facie evidential status that traditional armchair methodology demands—and thus that traditional armchair methodology, if properly practiced, need not be abandoned by naturalists, or even (except for a few exceptions) be much revised. (shrink)
The American way of Renaissance and the Humanistic Tradition of Greece -- The Aristotelian tradition in American naturalism -- George Santayana and Greek philosophy -- Frederick J.E. Woodbridge and the Aristotelian tradition -- John Dewey and ancient philosophies -- John H. Randall Jr.'s interpretation of Greek philosophy -- The ontology of Herbert W. Schneider -- Ernest Nagel's pragmatism and Aristotle's principle of contradiction -- The naturalistic metaphysics of Justus Buchler -- Naturalism and the platonic tradition.
Where much contemporary philosophy seeks to stave off the "threat" of nihilism by safeguarding the experience of meaning--characterized as the defining feature of human existence--from the Enlightenment logic of disenchantment, this book attempts to push nihilism to its ultimate conclusion by forging a link between revisionary naturalism in Anglo-American philosophy and anti-phenomenological realism in recent French philosophy. Contrary to an emerging "post-analytic" consensus which would bridge the analytic-continental divide by uniting Heidegger and Wittgenstein against the twin perils of scientism (...) and skepticism, this book short-circuits both traditions by plugging eliminative materialism directly into speculative realism. (shrink)
Mathematical explanation -- What is naturalism? -- Perception, practice, and ideal agents: Kitcher's naturalism -- Just metaphor?: Lakoff's language -- Seeing with the mind's eye: the Platonist alternative -- Semi-naturalists and reluctant realists -- A life of its own?: Maddy and mathematical autonomy.
Nature and Spirit: An Essay in Ecstatic Naturalism develops an enlarged conception of nature that in turn calls for a transformed naturalism. Unline more descriptive naturalisms, such as those by Dewey, Santayana, and Buchler, ecstatic naturalism works out of the fundamental ontological difference between nature naturing(natura naturans) and nature natured (natura naturata). This difference underlies all other variations within a generic conception of nature. The spirit operates within a generic conception of nature. The spirit operates within a (...) fragmented nature and has its own unique locations. Ecstatic naturalism does not eulogize spirit nor impose a process theodicy upon nature as a whole but carefully describes the ways in which spirit emerges from finite locations within the world. Methodologically, the text radically regrounds phenomenology so that it can work more closely with a metaphysics seeking the most generic forms of nature. The move from a transcendental phenomenology, which rests upon a profound misconception of the parcel of a radicalized naturalism, makes it possible to show how all orders of relevance are related to nature and to the spirit. This, in turn relocates the human process, with its dialectical tension between finitude and transendence, and places the self fully within the emergent structures of the community of interpreters as that community lives out of hope. The concept of worldhood is regrounded in pragmatic and semiotic terms, thus putting pressure on Heidegger's formulations. Peirce's pragmatic categorical structure is used to show how worldhood differs from any other order within the world. The correlation of the potencies of nature, which are presemiotic and preordinal, wit the orders of the world itself, is possible only through an ordinal phenomenology that remains attuned to the fundamental difference between nature naturing (the potencies) and nature natured (the orders of the world). Finally, the text redefines the divine natures in the light of an ecstatic naturalism that sees god as an order within the world that experiences the fragmented quality of nature. Process theology is challenged for its inability to grasp the tensions between god and the encompassing. Four divine natures are laid bare as they relate to nature and to each other. The work concludes with a description of the divine life in the face of the encompassing. (shrink)
Charting the development of the British tradition of naturalism from the 17th to the 19th century, this book provides fascinating insight into a wide range of thinkers, both Catholic and Protestant, who explored the themes of proof, practice, and the role of common sense. Reappraising what these thinkers can teach us about the relations between belief, action, and skepticism, Ferreira contributes to the philosophical study of naturalist replies to skepticism, as well as to a deeper appreciation of this particular (...) segment of British intellectual history. (shrink)
Although Cottingham and Holland make a persuasive case for the claim that it is difficult to situate a meaningful life within a Darwinian naturalistic cosmology, this paper argues that their case should be modified in response to the apparent fact that certain persons seem genuinely not to experience the ‘bleakness’ that they describe. Although certain of these cases will reflect an incomplete appreciation of the existential implications of Darwinian naturalism, at least some of those cases may be genuine. The (...) resulting possibility that certain persons can embrace Darwinian naturalism and live meaningful lives in apparent immunity to the ‘bleakness charge’ therefore poses new puzzles for Cottingham and Holland, and for wider questions about the meaningfulness of human life. I consider that possibility in light of the work of David E. Cooper and Paul Feyerabend and offer a set of three suggestions for further developing these debates. (shrink)
In a recent paper, Alvin Plantinga has argued that there is good reason to think that naturalism and moral realism are incompatible. He has done so by arguing that the most important argument for the compatibility of these two theses, which has been provided by Frank Jackson, fails and that any other argument that serves the same purpose is likely to fail for the same reason. His argument against the compatibility of naturalism and more realism, then, is indirect: (...) he argues against it by refuting the most important argument for it. In this paper, I argue that Plantinga’s argument is unconvincing for at least two reasons. First, Jackson’s argument can be revised in such a way that it meets Plantinga’s worry. Second, there is another way of arguing for the compatibility of two propositions which Plantinga does not consider. If the naturalist takes this alternative route, she does not face the problem identified by Plantinga. I thus show not only that Plantinga’s argument does not count against the compatibility of naturalism and moral realism, but that there is even good reason to think that naturalism and moral realism are in fact compatible. (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.
This paper rejects a view of science called "methodological naturalism." -/- According to many defenders of mainstream science and Darwinian evolution, anti-evolution critics--creationists and intelligent design proponents--are conceptually and epistemologically confusing science and religion, a supernatural view of world. These defenders of evolution contend that doing science requires adhering to a methodology that is strictly and essentially naturalistic: science is essentially committed to "methodological naturalism" and assumes that all the phenomena it investigates are entirely natural and consistent with (...) the laws of physics. Thus encountering any unexplained phenomenon, science assumes a priori that there is some natural cause and will only test a natural hypothesis. Since by definition supernatural causes are assumed to be not subject to the constraints of physical or natural law as understood by science, supernatural hypotheses and explanations must be banned from proper science. Science simply can't say that God did, or did not do it. -/- I argue that the success of science is directly relevant to rational belief in supernatural causes, and that in fact science can and does say in particular cases that "God didn't do it." I suggest that pro-evolution proponents can better defend science and the theory of evolution by rejecting methodological naturalism. -/- . (shrink)
Contemporary pragmatic naturalism -- Reconciling pragmatism and naturalism -- Value of pragmatic naturalism -- Being and knowing -- Ontology of constitutive relations -- Particulars and relations -- Making sense of world making -- God and faith -- Art and knowledge -- Social experience -- Democratic challenge -- Democracy and its problems -- International relations and foreign policy -- Cosmopolitanism and humanism -- Pragmatic, naturalism, and the big narrative.
Leon Horsten has recently claimed that the class of mathematical truths coincides with the class of theorems of ZFC. I argue that the naturalistic character of Horsten’s proposal undermines his contention that this claim constitutes an analogue of a thesis that Daniel Isaacson has advanced for PA. I argue, moreover, that Horsten’s defence of his claim against an obvious objection makes use of a distinction which is not available to him given his naturalistic approach. I suggest a way out of (...) the objection which is in line with the naturalistic spirit of Horsten’s proposal but which further weakens the analogy with Isaacson’s Thesis. I conclude by evaluating the prospects for providing an analogue of Isaacson’s Thesis for ZFC. (shrink)
John Searle's The Rediscovery of the Min is a sustained attempt to locate the mind and the mental firmly in the realm of the physical. Consciousness ,claims Searle, is just an ordinary biological feature of the world ... More specifically,``[t]he mental state of consciousness is just an ordinary biological, that is, physical featureof the brain''. Searle is adamant: ``Consciousness,to repeat, is a natural biological phenomenon''.
The first-person perspective is a challenge to naturalism. Naturalistic theories are relentlessly third-personal. The first-person perspective is, well, first-personal; it is the perspective from which one thinks of oneself as oneself* without the aid of any third-person name, description, demonstrative or other referential device. The exercise of the capacity to think of oneself in this first-personal way is the necessary condition of all our self-knowledge, indeed of all our self-consciousness. As important as the first-person perspective is, many philosophers have (...) not appreciated the force of the data from the first-person perspective, and suppose that the first-person perspective presents no particular problems for the naturalizing philosopher. For example, Ned Block commented, “It is of course [phenomenal] consciousness rather than...self-consciousness that has seemed such a scientific mystery.” (Block 1995, 230) And <span class='Hi'>David</span> Chalmers says that self-consciousness is one of those psychological states that “pose no deep metaphysical enigmas.” (Chalmers 1996, 24). (shrink)
More than a century ago, G. E. Moore famously attempted to refute ethical naturalism by offering the so-called open question argument (OQA), also charging that all varieties of ethical naturalism commit the naturalistic fallacy. Although there is consensus that OQA and the naturalistic-fallacy charge both fail, OQA is sometimes vindicated, but only as an argument against naturalistic semantic analyses. The naturalistic-fallacy charge, by contrast, usually finds no takers at all. This paper provides new grounds for an OQA thus (...) restricted. But it aims chiefly at vindicating a version of the naturalistic fallacy, „the semantic-naturalist fallacy‟ (SNF), that we think defensible. We first argue that the openness of the question OQA raises against such analyses hinges on self-ascriptive, comparative judgments of content, which may be considered a priori warranted. We then provide independent reasons for the claim that the sort of mistake committed by naturalistic analyses in fact amounts to a pragmatic fallacy of a kind familiar in petitio principii and other forms of viciously circular inference. Of interest here are naturalistic analyses of ethical terms or concepts, not of properties. Our OQA (OQA*) raises an objection to the former. For no such semantic analyses can get off the ground unless moral terms are content-equivalent to purely descriptive terms, which amounts to saying that they must instantiate the same semantic types. Suppose „good‟ is the analysandum and „pleasure maximizing‟ the analysans (whichever purely descriptive term or terms would turn out to be the correct descriptive analysis of the target analysandum) of a certain semantic analysis. The claim that such terms are content-equivalent appears to be open to doubt on a priori grounds. After 1 all, whether one‟s own tokens of „good‟ and „pleasure maximizing‟ have/don‟t have the same content is a first-person, comparative judgment of content. Evaluating the proposed analysis requires, then, a self-ascriptive, comparative judgment of content.1 Judgments of this sort are thought to have a special epistemic status, since they seem grounded in neither evidence nor inference.. (shrink)
Self-consciousness, many philosophers agree, is essential to being a person. There is not so much agreement, however, about how to understand what self-consciousness is. Philosophers in the field of cognitive science tend to write off self-consciousness as unproblematic. According to such philosophers, the real difficulty for the cognitive scientist is phenomenal consciousness--the fact that we (and other organisms) have states that feel a certain way. If we had a grip on phenomenal consciousness, they think, self-consciousness could be easily handled by (...) functionalist models. For example, recently Ned Block commented,. (shrink)
The work of the American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars continues to have a significant impact on the contemporary philosophical scene. Providing a lively examination of Sellars work through the central problem of what it means to be a human being in a scientific world, this book will be a valuable resource for all students of philosophy.
This paper examines some consequences of the (quasi-)epiphenomenalism implied by a property dualistic view of phenomenal consciousness. The focus is upon the variation of phenomenal content over time. A thought-experiment is constructed to support two claims. The weaker claim exhibits an incompatibility which arises in certain logically possible situations between a conscious subject’s epistemic norms and the requirement that one be aware of one’s conscious experience. This could be interpreted as providing some epistemic grounds for the postulation of bridging laws (...) between the physical/functional and phenomenal domains. The stronger claim has it that the ontology of property dualism is not properly able to account for the certainty I have of being phenomenally conscious. The problem is viewed as resulting from the neglect of the intensional context involved in a proper representation of the argument for property dualism. It is argued that only a transcendental move can do justice to this certainty I have. (shrink)
Philosophers constantly see the method of science before their eyes, and are irresistibly tempted to ask and answer questions in the way science does. This tendency is the real source of metaphysics and leads the philosopher into complete darkness.
This article challenges the neo-Darwinist physicalist position assumed by currently prevalent naturalizing accounts of consciousness. It suggests instead an evolutionary (Deweyan) understanding of cognitive emergence and an acceptance of mental capacity as a phenomenon in its own right, differing qualitatively from, although not independent of, the physical and material world. I argue that if we accept that consciousness is an adaptation enabling survival through immediate individual intuition of the world, we may accept this metaphysics as a given. Methodological focus can (...) then shift to investigating the, as yet untheorized, nature of consciousness itself as capacity/interconnectivity/potential. The article accepts Joseph Margolis's recent advocacy of a pragmatist approach that is "natural but not naturalizable" (Margolis 2002, 7), that is, an anti-reductionist as opposed to an eliminativist position, but it seeks to develop this position further and to give it new direction. (shrink)