Ontological naturalism

Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 86 (2):284-294 (2005)
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Ontological naturalism is the view that our best construal of what there is, is what science says there is. This paper argues that while such a doctrine is very appealing, unfortunately, determining what there is, is neither as simple, nor as straightforward, as ontological naturalism would have it seem. Determining what there is, it is claimed, involves three steps. First, one must decide which part of scientific discourse should be taken as true. One must then regiment that part of scientific discourse, and finally, one has to apply a criterion for ontological commitment to that regimented discourse. This paper will concentrate on the first and third of these tasks. It is argued that resolving the tasks these steps put before us requires the employment of philosophical maneuvers, that is, maneuvers that neither originate within, nor are ratified by, the practice of science. But these are maneuvers that the ontological naturalist is not entitled to. Thus, ontological naturalism is not a feasible doctrine.



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Yvonne Raley
City University of New York

Citations of this work

Ontology, Commitment, and Quine's Criterion.Yvonne Raley - 2007 - Philosophia Mathematica 15 (3):271-290.
The facticity of explanation and its consequences.Yvonne Raley - 2007 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 21 (2):123 – 135.

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References found in this work

How the laws of physics lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Realism, Mathematics & Modality.Hartry H. Field - 1989 - New York, NY, USA: Blackwell.
Naturalism in mathematics.Penelope Maddy - 1997 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Abstract objects.Bob Hale - 1987 - New York, NY, USA: Blackwell.
From a Logical Point of View.Willard Orman Quine - 1953 - Harvard University Press.

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