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)
In this précis I summarise the main ideas of my book Philosophy of Psychedelics. The book discusses philosophical issues arising from the therapeutic use of “classic” psychedelic drugs such as psilocybin and LSD. The book is organised around what I call the Comforting Delusion Objection to psychedelic therapy: the concern that this novel and promising treatment relies essentially on the induction of non-naturalistic metaphysical beliefs, rendering it epistemically objectionable. I begin the précis by summarizing material from chapters two and three (...) of the book, which review evidence for the therapeutic efficacy of psychedelics, and the facts about their clinical use that prompt the Comforting Delusion Objection. I then summarize materials from chapters four and five of the book, which argue that psychedelic therapy works neither by experience-independent processes of neuroplasticity, nor by inducing non-naturalistic metaphysical ideations, but by altering mental representations of the self. Next, I summarise the specific, speculative account of how this might work that is developed in chapters six and seven of the book. This account is based on the predictive processing theory of brain function and the self-binding theory of self-representation. Chapters eight and nine of the book argue, on the basis of this account, that psychedelic therapy can have significant epistemic and spiritual benefits that are compatible with a naturalistic worldview. I summarize this material, and then, finally, the overall conclusions about psychedelic therapy drawn in the tenth and final chapter of the book. (shrink)
This paper discusses a wide range of anti-naturalistic argument from reason due to Balfour, Haldane, Joad, Lewis, Taylor, Moreland, Plantinga, Reppert, and Hasker. I argue that none of these arguments poses a serious challenge to naturalists who are identity theorists. Further, I argue that some of these arguments do not even pose prima facie plausible challenges to naturalism. In the concluding part of my discussion, I draw attention to some distinctive differences between Hasker’s anti-naturalistic arguments and the other anti-naturalistic (...) arguments mentioned above. (shrink)
Enric F. Gel has recently argued that classical theism enjoys a significant advantage over Graham Oppy's naturalism. According to Gel, classical theism – unlike Oppy's naturalism – satisfactorily answers two questions: first, how many first causes are there, and second, why is it that number rather than another? In this article, I reply to Gel's argument for classical theism's advantage over Oppy's naturalism. I also draw out wider implications of my investigation for the gap problem and Christian (...) doctrine along the way. (shrink)
_Naturalism_ provides a rigorous analysis and critique of the major varieties of contemporary philosophical naturalism. The authors advocate the thesis that contemporary naturalism should be abandoned, in light of the serious objections raised against it. Contributors draw on a wide range of topics including: epistemology, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of mind and agency, and natural theology.
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)
Naturalistic Hermeneutics proposes the position of the unity of the scientific method and defends it against the claim to autonomy of the human sciences. Mantzavinos shows how materials that are 'meaningful', more specifically human actions and texts, can be adequately dealt with by the hypothetico-deductive method, the standard method used in the natural sciences. The hermeneutic method is not an alternative method aimed at the understanding and the interpretation of human actions and texts, but it is the same as the (...) hypothetico-deductive method applied to meaningful materials. The central thesis advocated by Mantzavinos is, thus, that there is no fundamental methodological difference between natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities. Advanced students and professionals across philosophy, social and political theory, and the humanities will find this a compelling and controversial book. (shrink)
Normative naturalism is primarily a metaphysical doctrine: there are normative facts and properties, and these fall into the class of natural facts and properties. Many objections to naturalism rely on additional assumptions about language or thought, but often without adequate consideration of just how normative properties would have to figure in our thought and talk if naturalism were true. In the first part of the paper, I explain why naturalists needn’t think that normative properties can be represented (...) or ascribed in wholly non-normative terms. If so, certain prominent objections to normative naturalism fail. In the second part, I consider the objection that normative properties are “just too different” from (other) natural properties to themselves be natural properties. I argue that naturalists have no distinctive trouble making sense of thought and talk involving forms of “genuine” or “authoritative” normativity which can drive a non-question-begging form of the objection. (shrink)
Naturalism and_Pragmatism offers reflections on the pragmatic tradition from a fresh perspective: that of a working neuroscientist. Though naturalism and evolution are not the only topics of discussions, they are important themes of the book. Both pragmatism and modern behavioural science grew up in the wake of Darwin's theory of evolution. Indeed it is impossible to imagine either without evolutionary theory and the more general nineteenth-century trend of naturalism from which modern evolutionary theory emerged. And yet, for (...) a variety of reasons, these common origins have not ensured a close affinity between pragmatic philosophy and the behavioural sciences. Among the wide diversity of scientific theories of human cognition and its evolutionary origins, only a few are congenial to pragmatism in its original or 'classical' form, which embraces the full range of human experience. Thus this book presents not only a scientist's take on the pragmatic tradition, but also a pragmatist's take on the evolution of the human problem solving. (shrink)
There has long been interest in deriving evaluative conclusions from nonevaluative premises. I revisit two classic attempts at this derivation by Philippa Foot and John Searle. They try the derivation using “thick arguments.” I argue that all thick arguments fail. Their failure is not due to a special feature of morality or of moral language, as many critics have charged. Rather it is because the thick evaluative terms are theoretical terms.
Naturalism’s Philosophy of the Sacred furthers the tradition of religious naturalism by offering an approach to the sacred through the metaphysical categories of ordinality and ontological parity put forward by twentieth-century American naturalist Justus Buchler. The book’s chief argument is that the most effective antidote to religious violence is an aesthetic interpretation of the sacred understood as an order in and of nature.
American naturalists all agree that traditional theism, with its belief in a supernatural personal god who is absolutely transcendent to nature, is inconsistent with the view that nature is all that there is. Yet despite the rejection of the traditional God of theism, some naturalists have found pantheism, with its belief in a divinity thoroughly immanent to nature, congenial. Nonetheless, no philosophically rigorous and systematic juxtaposition of the metaphysical and ethical commitments of pantheism with those of naturalism has been (...) undertaken. This essay seeks to fill that gap by investigating the viability of pantheism from the perspective of the ordinal naturalism of Justus Buchler. Several reasons can be .. (shrink)
The “naturalistic turn” that has swept so many areas of philosophy over the past three decades has also had an impact in the last decade in legal philosophy. Methodological naturalists (M-naturalists) view philosophy as continuous with empirical inquiry in the sciences. Some M-naturalists want to replace conceptual and justificatory theories with empirical and descriptive theories; they take their inspiration from more-or-less Quinean arguments against conceptual analysis and foundationalist programs. Other M-naturalists retain the normative and regulative ambitions of traditional philosophy, but (...) emphasize that it is an empirical question what normative advice is actually useable and effective for creatures like us. Some M-naturalists are also.. (shrink)
In this essay I explore the nature of Deleuze’s commitment to an affirmative naturalism that is based on certain Epicurean principles and insights. The essay is divided into two main parts. In the first part I bring to light some of the key features of Lucretius’s great poem on the nature of things, and I do so with the aid of Bergson and his reading of the teaching as fundamentally melancholic. In the second part I switch my attention to (...) Deleuze and show how he links together physics and ethics as a way of providing an emancipatory and affirmative philosophy of life and one that aims to defeat sadness. In the conclusion I return to the question of melancholy and indicate how the problem might be best negotiated. (shrink)
The Kripkean metaphysical modality (i.e. possibility and necessity) is one of the most important concepts in contemporary analytic philosophy and is the basis of many metaphysical speculations. These metaphysical speculations frequently commit to entities that do not belong to this physical universe, such as merely possible entities, abstract entities, mental entities or qualities not realizable by the physical, which seems to contradict naturalism or physicalism. This paper proposes a naturalistic interpretation of the Kripkean modality, as a naturalist’s response to (...) these metaphysical speculations. It will show that naturalism can accommodate the Kripkean metaphysical modality. In particular, it will show that naturalism can help to resolve the puzzles surrounding Kripke’s a posteriori necessary propositions and a priori contingent propositions. (shrink)
Broadly speaking, a naturalistic approach to epistemology seeks to explain human knowledge – and justification in particular – as a phenomenon in the natural world, in keeping with the tenets of naturalism. Naturalism is typically defined, in part, by a commitment to scientific method as the only legitimate means of attaining knowledge of the natural world. Naturalism is often thought to entail empiricism by virtue of this methodological commitment. However, scientific methods themselves may incorporate a priori elements, (...) so empiricism does not follow from the methodological commitments of naturalism alone. And given a suitably-naturalistic conception of the a priori, a priori forms of justification may be compatible with naturalism generally. A priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism – and hence naturalistic epistemologies – if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of some of the inessential properties that have been associated with the concept. I argue that some of the more prominent strategies for accommodating normative notions within a naturalistic framework allow for the possibility of a priori justification. These include reliabilism, instrumental rationality, and nonfactualism about justification. A priori justification thus need not be seen as standing in opposition to all naturalistic epistemologies. It is only with nonnormative naturalistic epistemologies that a priori justification per se is incompatible, and this only because the notion of justification itself has no role to play within a nonnormative approach to epistemology. (shrink)
It is said that America came of age intellectually with the appearance of the pragmatic movement in philosophy. _Pragmatic Naturalism _presents a selective and interpretative overview of this philosophy as developed in the writings of its intellectual founders and chief exponents—Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, George Herbert Mead, and John Dewey. Mr. Eames groups the leading ideas of these pragmatic naturalists around the general fields of “Nature and Human Life,” “Knowledge,” “Value,” and “Education,” treating the primary concerns and special (...) emphasis of each philosopher to these issues. Philosophy students, teachers of philosophy, and general readers will find this book a comprehensive overview of American philosophy. (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.
Spiritual naturalists say that spirit is a natural force. Far from being novel or unconventional, spiritual naturalism spans the entire history of Western thought, from the Stoics, through leading modern thinkers, to the transhumanists. Spirit drives the self-organization of matter. The spirituality of any thing is just its degree of self-organization, which is its evolved complexity. But self-organization is self-regulation and self-control. Many spiritual naturalists, especially the transhumanists, have developed naturalistic phenomenologies of spirit. These are narratives which trace the (...) ideal evolution of complexity from the origin of our universe to its end. They are spiritually optimal possible histories of our universe. During the phases of any spiritually optimal history, humanity will perfect itself. But transhumanists say that the ideal evolution of complexity will greatly surpass humans. We will be surpassed by superhuman animals; but these will be surpassed by superhuman robots and godlike computers. The ideal end of the cosmos is an Omega Point with infinite spirituality. (shrink)
Non-naturalist realism is the view that normative properties are unique kind of stance-independent properties. It has been argued that such views fail to explain why two actions that are exactly alike otherwise must also have the same normative properties. Mark Schroeder and Knut Olav Skarsaune have recently suggested that non-naturalist realists can respond to this supervenience challenge by taking the primary bearers of normative properties to be action-kinds. This paper develops their response in two ways. Firstly, it provides additional motivation (...) for the previous claim about the bearers of normative properties by drawing from the work of H.A. Prichard. Secondly, and more importantly, it formulates a plausible metaphysical framework based on the contemporary trope theory to explain why action-kinds would have their second-order properties, including their normative properties, necessarily. (shrink)
Religious naturalists say all divine or sacred things are natural. A unifying framework is presented for religious naturalism. Nature has five religiously significant levels of organization. These are nature as a whole, the universe, solar system, earth, and body. Each level involves power, cyclicality, complexity, and evolution. These levels take their religious contents from the Zygon group, the World Pantheist Movement, the New Atheists, the New Stoics, and the Burners. Religious naturalists have also taken ideas from the Wicca, the (...) Green Sisters, and the Evolutionary Christians. Rituals can be performed at each level. Linkages between all complex things and the cycles of nature entail a positive soteriology. No gods are involved in this religious naturalism. (shrink)
The naturalistic fallacy is a source of much confusion. In what follows I will explain what G. E. Moore meant by the naturalistic fallacy, give modern day examples of it then mention some of the different types of views it has spawned. Finally, I will consider a few criticisms of it.
It is a commonly held view that the existence of moral value somehow depends upon the existence of God. Some proponents of this view take the very strong position that atheism entails that there is no moral value; but most take the weaker position that atheism cannot explain what moral value is, or how it could have come into being. Call the first position Incompatibility, and the second position Inadequacy. In this paper, I will focus on the arguments for Inadequacy. (...) There are two main arguments for this position: the Argument from Arbitrariness and the Screening-Off Argument. I’ll discuss each in turn., and argue that neither is successful. To conclude, I’ll sketch what I think is a promising beginning to a naturalistic account of morality. (shrink)
The basic assumption present in these articles is that naturalism is highly compatible with a wide range of relevant philosophical questions and that, regardless of the classical problems faced by the naturalist, the price paid in endorsing naturalism is lower than that paid by essentialist or supernaturalist theories. Yet, the reader will find a variety of approaches, from naturalism in Moral Philosophy and Epistemology to naturalism in the Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind and of the (...) Aesthetics. (shrink)
Nietzsche: Naturalism and Interpretation offers a resolution of one of the most vexing problems in Nietzsche scholarship. As perhaps the most significant predecessor of more recent attempts to formulate a postmetaphysical epistemology and ontology, Nietzsche is considered by many critics to share this problem with his successors: How can an antifoundationalist philosophy avoid vicious relativism and legitimate its claim to provide a platform for the critique of arguments, practices, and institutions? -/- Christoph Cox argues that Nietzsche successfully navigates between (...) relativism and dogmatism, accepting the naturalistic critique of metaphysics and theology provided by modern science, yet maintaining that a thoroughgoing naturalism must move beyond scientific reductionism. It must accept a central feature of aesthetic understanding: acknowledgment of the primacy and irreducibility of interpretation. This view of Nietzsche's doctrines of perspectivism, becoming, and will to power as products of an overall naturalism balanced by a reciprocal commitment to interpretationism will spur new discussions of epistemology and ontology in contemporary thought. (shrink)
The present work is the product of several years study of the various aspects of Kanfs Critical Philosophy and Hume's naturalism. During that time many individuals have helped with this work and it is hardly possible to set down the names of aH of them. One name does des erve special mention - Prof. Dr. H. Heimsoeth with whom the author has discussed some of the very knotty problems of Kantian Philosophy. Although Hume has been - as Kant freely (...) admits in the Preface to his "Prolegomena" - one of the most decisive influences and turning points in the philosophical development of Kant, the author does not thematize in this work the age-old problem of whether Kant reaHy read, understood and refuted Hume. That it has been, ever since Hume wrote, a favorite pursuit among philosophers to answer hirn, to refute hirn, and to refute Kanfs attempt at refutation of hirn, irrespective of its being convincing or not, must be mentioned with special respect. (shrink)
Methodological naturalism arises as a topic in metaethics in two ways. One is the issue of whether we should be methodological naturalists when doing our moral theorising, and another is whether we should take a naturalistic approach to metaethics itself. Interestingly, these can come apart, and some naturalist programs in metaethics justify a non-scientific approach to our moral theorising. This paper discusses the range of approaches that fall under the general umbrella of methodological naturalism, and how naturalists view (...) the role of science in ethics and metaethics. It discusses how naturalism interacts with the use of intuitions, using conceptual analysis, and reflective equilibrium methods. Finally, it discusses some ways using scientific investigation can make distinctive contributions to ethics and metaethics. (shrink)
Most physicalists believe that physicalism is a thesis that denies the existence of fundamental mentality either as a substance or as a property. Therefore, since most physicalists also endorse a posteriori physicalism, according to them, if the future physical theory posits fundamental mentality as a fundamental physical concept, then physicalism will be falsified. In contrast, there are those who believe that the core idea of physicalism is an ontological deference to science (especially physics); the idea that is usually called scientism (...) and is closely related to methodological naturalism. According to them, if physicists posit fundamental mentality as an integral part of the future fundamental physical theory, physicalism will not be falsified, and physicalists may (or should) accept fundamental mentality as a genuine physical concept. In this paper, I argue that there is some historical evidence in support of the latter understanding of physicalism. First, I give some historical evidence that seems to suggest that the historical origin of physicalism is the failure of those explanations – or pseudo-explanations – that have appealed to supernatural non-physical entities. Second, I show that in some of the initial reflections on materialism – the predecessor of physicalism – in the first half of the twentieth century, philosophers understood materialism in terms of the very historical origin. (shrink)
In this collection of essays, several authors, belonging to different generations and philosophical traditions, discuss ample ethical and metaethical issues together with their relations to questions of applied ethics. The volume provides a wide account of some of the main topics in these fields, thus dealing with nearly everything that human beings hold as valuable. -/- Expert scholars and young researchers contribute to this virtual symposium, reframing the current philosophical debates about the definition and the history of the concept of (...)Naturalism, the different declinations of Kantian Constructivism, the functioning of Rational Choice Theory, the complex role played by Neuroscience in redefining the contours of ethical theories and bioethics, the puzzles of Deontic Logic, and the bases of Animal Ethics. -/- Divided into three sections, presented by comprehensive introductions by Sofia Bonicalzi, Leonardo Caffo and Mattia Sorgon, the present collection includes contributions by Martina Belmonte, Michele Borri, Luciana Ceri, Guglielmo Feis, Matteo Grasso, Andrea Lavazza, Sarah Songhorian, and Francesca Vitale. Each author develops a distinctive and independent position, while critically engaging with the central themes of contemporary reflection. -/- This new, major study will benefit moral philosophers, philosophers of science, and scientists concerned with bioethics, while at the same time stimulating and challenging anyone who is curious about the nature and the origins of ethical and metaethical enquiries. (shrink)
Survey article on Naturalism dealing with Hume's NOFI (including Prior's objections), Moore's Naturalistic Fallacy and the Barren Tautology Argument. Naturalism, as I understand it, is a form of moral realism which rejects fundamental moral facts or properties. Thus it is opposed to both non-cognitivism, and and the error theory but also to non-naturalism. General conclusion: as of 1991: naturalism as a program has not been refuted though none of the extant versions look particularly promising.
The many kinds of naturalism fall into two main types. Dogmatic naturalists define naturalness using some rule. Progressive naturalists define naturalness in terms of a research program. This research program, illustrated by the sciences, progressively defines things ever more precisely using mathematics. Most traditional religious concepts fail to be natural on any type of naturalism. But progressive naturalists are open to naturalistic revisions of traditional concepts. They do not tie religion to the past, but welcome novel religious and (...) spiritual naturalisms. (shrink)
Some people believe that there is an “explanatory gap” between the facts of physics and certain other facts about the world—for example, facts about consciousness. The gap is presented as a challenge to any thoroughgoing naturalism or physicalism. We believe that advocates of the explanatory gap have some reasonable expectations that cannot be merely dismissed. We also believe that naturalistic thinkers have the resources to close the explanatory gap, but that they have not adequately explained how and why these (...) resources work. In this paper we isolate the legitimate explanatory demands in the gap reasoning, as it is defended by Chalmers and Jackson . We then argue that these demands can be met. Our solution involves a novel proposal for understanding the relationship between theories, explanations, and scientific identities. (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.
In this paper we investigate some important trends in contemporary naturalist aesthetics in relation to two decisive issues. Firstly, it is important to explicitly clarify what kind of naturalism is at stake within the debate, more specifically whether an account of the topic involves forms of physical reductionism, emergentism, and/or continuistic views of art and culture with nature. Secondly, we argue that it is necessary to define what conception of art is assumed as paradigmatic: whether this conception deals with (...) basically autonomist approaches to art, assuming aesthetic experience to coincide with the disinterested contemplation of formal features, independently of cognitive, practical, and ethical implications, or whether the arts are considered an enhancement of the features of human expe- rience and developments of other human behaviours. The second part of the paper will investigate some recent developments in current neuroaesthetics and fresh enactivist proposals in the aesthetic field which display a tendency toward a non-reductive naturalism, views of the arts as continuous with other modes of behav- iour and more conscious attitudes about the risks of scientism within scientific in- vestigations. Generally speaking, we espouse an idea of culture as the natural development of human organic experience that involves new emerging properties depending on the re-organization of already existing natural resources and favour continuistic and emergentist views as more suited to dealing with specific prob- lems in the field of the arts and as better responding to the criticism of irrelevancy directed against the latter, compared to reductive naturalist approaches. (shrink)
This study addresses a central theme in current philosophy: Platonism vs Naturalism and provides accounts of both approaches to mathematics, crucially discussing Quine, Maddy, Kitcher, Lakoff, Colyvan, and many others. Beginning with accounts of both approaches, Brown defends Platonism by arguing that only a Platonistic approach can account for concept acquisition in a number of special cases in the sciences. He also argues for a particular view of applied mathematics, a view that supports Platonism against Naturalist alternatives. Not only (...) does this engaging book present the Platonist-Naturalist debate over mathematics in a comprehensive fashion, but it also sheds considerable light on non-mathematical aspects of a dispute that is central to contemporary philosophy. (shrink)
_Nietzsche: Naturalism and Interpretation_ offers a resolution of one of the most vexing problems in Nietzsche scholarship. As perhaps the most significant predecessor of more recent attempts to formulate a postmetaphysical epistemology and ontology, Nietzsche is considered by many critics to share this problem with his successors: How can an antifoundationalist philosophy avoid vicious relativism and legitimate its claim to provide a platform for the critique of arguments, practices, and institutions? Christoph Cox argues that Nietzsche successfully navigates between relativism (...) and dogmatism, accepting the naturalistic critique of metaphysics and theology provided by modern science, yet maintaining that a thoroughgoing naturalism must move beyond scientific reductionism. It must accept a central feature of aesthetic understanding: acknowledgment of the primacy and irreducibility of interpretation. This view of Nietzsche's doctrines of perspectivism, becoming, and will to power as products of an overall naturalism balanced by a reciprocal commitment to interpretationism will spur new discussions of epistemology and ontology in contemporary thought. (shrink)
Two countervailing trends mark the intellectual tenor of our age the spread of naturalistic worldviews and religious orthodoxies. Advances in biogenetics, brain research, and robotics are clearing the way for the penetration of an objective scientific self-understanding of persons into everyday life. For philosophy, this trend is associated with the challenge of scientific naturalism. At the same time, we are witnessing an unexpected revitalization of religious traditions and the politicization of religious communities across the world. From a philosophical perspective, (...) this revival of religious energies poses the challenge of a fundamentalist critique of the principles underlying the modern Wests postmetaphysical understanding of itself. The tension between naturalism and religion is the central theme of this major new book by Jrgen Habermas. On the one hand he argues for an appropriate naturalistic understanding of cultural evolution that does justice to the normative character of the human mind. On the other hand, he calls for an appropriate interpretation of the secularizing effects of a process of social and cultural rationalization increasingly denounced by the champions of religious orthodoxies as a historical development peculiar to the West. These reflections on the enduring importance of religion and the limits of secularism under conditions of postmetaphysical reason set the scene for an extended treatment the political significance of religious tolerance and for a fresh contribution to current debates on cosmopolitanism and a constitution for international society. (shrink)
In this section, which forms part of my discussion of the relation and interaction between philosophy and science in the twentieth century, I will show that ‘naturalism’ has played a very crucial role. I consider this role a positive one. In fact, probably, naturalism has constituted the closest relation between philosophy and science. By considering the roots of different types of ‘naturalism’, we shall see that the current debates on naturalism have been an inevitable development. Here (...) also I will show that the current debates are inescapable for most philosophers. By considering some of the different versions of naturalism, I will show that the place of ‘naturalism’ in contemporary philosophy of science is a very crucial one. Finally, I will study the Quinean version of “Epistemology Naturalised”. I will argue that Quine’s version of naturalized epistemology is not as radical as is usually thought. I pursue it through a close reading of Quine’s original text. I will reveal some misunderstandings of Quine’s naturalized epistemology by shedding light on some of the relevant concepts including ‘purely descriptive epistemology’, ‘circularity’, ‘natural science’ and ‘normativity’. To do this, I will first illustrate some of the very different views on that in current debates among philosophers (and particularly philosophers of science) and scientists. (shrink)
Huw Price has developed versions of naturalism and anti-representationalism to create a distinctive brand of pragmatism. ‘Subject naturalism’ focuses on what science says about human beings and the function of our linguistic practices, as opposed to orthodox contemporary naturalism’s privileging of the ontology of the natural sciences. Price’s anti-representationalism rejects the view that what makes utterances contentful is their representing reality. Together, they are to help us avoid metaphysical ‘placement problems’: how e.g. mind, meaning, and morality fit (...) into the natural world. By combining subject naturalism and his own ‘global’ version of expressivism with Robert Brandom’s inferentialism about content, Price proposes a pragmatist ‘anthropology’ as a replacement for substantively metaphysical approaches to placement problems. In this paper I argue that Price’s project cannot succeed, and that this shows something important about what form pragmatism ought to take. Price’s view doesn’t work because no subject naturalist vocabulary is sufficient to describe any assertional practice; there is no way to connect his expressive-functionalist explanations to the practices and concepts which are their subject – nor, even, to the human subjects who are the focus of a philosophical anthropology. I close by suggesting how we might improve on these shortcomings of Price’s pragmatism. (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.
Normativity concerns what we ought to think or do and the evaluations we make. For example, we say that we ought to think consistently, we ought to keep our promises, or that Mozart is a better composer than Salieri. Yet what philosophical moral can we draw from the apparent absence of normativity in the scientific image of the world? For scientific naturalists, the moral is that the normative must be reduced to the nonnormative, while for nonnaturalists, the moral is that (...) there must be a transcendent realm of norms. _Naturalism and Normativity_ engages with both sides of this debate. Essays explore philosophical options for understanding normativity in the space between scientific naturalism and Platonic supernaturalism. They articulate a liberal conception of philosophy that is neither reducible to the sciences nor completely independent of themyet one that maintains the right to call itself naturalism. Contributors think in new ways about the relations among the scientific worldview, our experience of norms and values, and our movements in the space of reason. Detailed discussions include the relationship between philosophy and science, physicalism and ontological pluralism, the realm of the ordinary, objectivity and subjectivity, truth and justification, and the liberal naturalisms of Donald Davidson, John Dewey, John McDowell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. (shrink)
1. Introduction 2. Naturalism in the First Half of the Century 3. Three Eminent Figures 3.1 Husserl 3.2 Wittgenstein 3.3 Quine 4. The Nature of Naturalism 5. A Classification of Naturalisms 5.1 Metaphysical Naturalism 5.2 Methodological, or Scientific, Naturalism 5.2.1 Naturalism with a Leading Science: Physicalism and Biologism 5.2.2 Naturalism without a Leading Science 5.3. Analytic, or Semantic, Naturalism 6. Three Fields of Naturalisation 6.1 Naturalising Epistemology 6.2 Naturalising Intentionality 6.3 Naturalising Normativity 7. (...)Naturalism and Human Nature 8. Scientific naturalism quo vadis? 8.1 Scientia mensura and the Disunity of the Special Sciences 8.2 The Business of Philosophy . (shrink)
Ethical naturalism is narrowly construed as the doctrine that there are moral properties and facts, at least some of which are natural properties and facts. Perhaps owing to its having faced, early on, intuitively forceful objections by eliminativists and non-naturalists, ethical naturalism has only recently become a central player in the debates about the status of moral properties and facts which have occupied philosophers over the last century. It has now become a driving force in those debates, one (...) with sufficient resources to challenge not only eliminativism, especially in its various non-cognitivist forms, but also the most sophisticated versions of non-naturalism. This volume brings together twelve new essays which make it clear that, in light of recent developments in analytic philosophy and the social sciences, there are novel grounds for reassessing the doctrines at stake in these debates. (shrink)
The chapter distinguishes between a weak and a strong form of ontological naturalism. Strong ontological naturalism is the view that all truths can be deduced, at least in principle, from truths about physical entities at the lowest level of organization, for example, truths about the elementary particles and forces. Weak ontological naturalism is the view that only physical properties can be causally efficacious. Strong ontological naturalism entails weak ontological naturalism but not vice versa. I then (...) argue that the existence of a truth property is consistent with weak ontological naturalism, as truth is not causally efficacious. After considering several prominent theories of truth, I argue that the only theories of truth that are consistent with strong ontological naturalism are deflationary doctrines that deny that there is a substantial truth property but these theories are not suitable adjoints to strong naturalism, as folks with strong naturalist inclinations normally want to posit the existence of substantial natural properties. Yet if the truth property itself is insubstantial, so are claims about the existence of substantial natural properties. I conclude by arguing that the result that there cannot be a naturalistic theory of truth is unsurprising, as there are independent reasons for thinking that the basic semantic notions must be treated an irreducible, primitive properties. (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)
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)