Terra Firma

The Monist 78 (4):425-446 (1995)


I have long felt that graduate education in philosophy, when successful, produces in its beneficiaries a strong antipathy, almost an allergic reaction, to “ism” words. “Naturalism,” nevertheless, is not one that is easy to eschew. This is not because of anything like a widely shared or especially intuitive doctrine associated with the term. The numerous doctrines offered by way of characterization often seem either suspicious because of their strength, or else platitudinous, too easy and not sufficiently restrictive. The appeal of naturalism is rather a matter of a tendency of thought, a powerful one despite its lack of easy definition.

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Howard Wettstein
University of California, Riverside

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