Science, Religion, and Hyper-Humeanism

Philo 4 (1):68-81 (2001)
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Abstract

According to hyper-Humeanism, the world of “fact” is utterly distinct from the realm of “value”-that is, the realm of morality and religion.This is a well-known philosophical position, and it more or less follows from some well-known philosophical doctrines (e.g., logical positivism, and neo-Wittgensteinianism), but its appeal is not limited to philosophers. Indeed, an acceptance of hyper-Humeanism seems to be at the root of Stephen Jay Gould’s recent defense of the thesis that science and religion are utterly distinct. Gould’s stated aim in defending this thesis is to settle, or perhaps reveal as illusory, various conflicts between science and religion. However, I arguenot only that Gould’s version of this thesis is defective, but also that hyper-Humeanism itself is false. If I am right, then “facts” and “values”-science and religion in particular-can overlap in philosophically interesting ways.

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Owen McLeod
Lafayette College

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