From object naturalism, to subject naturalism, to idealism: On price's “naturalism without representationalism”

In “Naturalism without Representationalism” Huw Price contests a particular way of understanding how philosophy can be sensitive to the claims of science, and does this by sketching an alternate way in which such “science-sensitivity” might be conceived.1 Most naturalistic conceptions of philosophy, he claims, regard philosophy as taking as its object the world as science describes it. Such approaches then see their own task as one of finding a place for certain objects in this scientifically described world—objects that are not easily so located, such as those having to do with morality, meaning, or mathematics. Conceived in this way, philosophy typically addresses what he calls “placement problems”. “[A] typical placement problem” he notes, “seeks to understand how some object, property, or fact can be a natural object, property, or fact”. But there may be hidden assumptions implicit in this approach that are actually incompatible with a genuinely naturalistic view of ourselves as the subjects capable of such knowledge. Hence he contrasts the “object naturalism” of such traditional orientations with his own “subject naturalist” approach which attempts to make explicit and hold on to a naturalistic approach to the knowing subject prior to the cutting in of the problematic hidden assumptions of object naturalism.
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