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)
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)
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)
The present paper discusses different approaches to metaphysics and defends a specific, non-deflationary approach that nevertheless qualifies as scientifically-grounded and, consequently, as acceptable from the naturalistic viewpoint. By critically assessing some recent work on science and metaphysics, we argue that such a sophisticated form of naturalism, which preserves the autonomy of metaphysics as an a priori enterprise yet pays due attention to the indications coming from our best science, is not only workable but recommended.
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)
This volume brings together fourteen major essays by one of contemporary philosophy's most challenging thinkers. Huw Price links themes from Quine, Carnap, Wittgenstein and Rorty, to craft a powerful critique of contemporary naturalistic metaphysics. He offers a new positive program for philosophy, cast from a pragmatist mould.
This chapter argues that the best way for a non-naturalist to explain why the normative supervenes on the natural is to claim that, while there are some sui generis normative properties whose essences cannot be fully specified in non-normative terms and do not specify any non-normative sufficient conditions for their instantiation, there are certain hybrid normative properties whose essences specify both naturalistic sufficient conditions for their own instantiation and sufficient conditions for the instantiation of certain sui generis normative properties. This (...) is the only metaphysical explanation for supervenience on offer, the chapter argues, that can both clearly maintain the pre-theoretical commitments of non-naturalism, and provide a metaphysical explanation not just for supervenience, but for all metaphysical necessities involving natural and normative properties. (shrink)
Normative naturalism is a view about the status of epistemology and philosophy of science; it is a meta-epistemology. It maintains that epistemology can both discharge its traditional normative role and nonetheless claim a sensitivity to empirical evidence. The first sections of this essay set out the central tenets of normative naturalism, both in its epistemic and its axiological dimensions; later sections respond to criticisms of that species of naturalism from Gerald Doppelt, Jarrett Leplin and Alex Rosenberg.
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)
I begin by retracing an argument from Aristotle for final causes in science. Then, I advance this ancient thought, and defend an argument for a stronger conclusion: that no scientific explanation can succeed, if Naturalism is true. The argument goes like this: (1) Any scientific explanation can be successful only if it crucially involves a natural regularity. Next, I argue that (2) any explanation can be successful only if it crucially involves no element that calls out for explanation but (...) lacks one. From (1) and (2) it follows that (3) a scientific explanation can be successful only if it crucially involves a natural regularity, and this regularity does not call out for explanation while lacking one. I then argue that (4) if Naturalism is true, then all natural regularities call out for explanation but lack them. From (3) and (4) it follows that (5) if Naturalism is true, then no scientific explanation can be successful. If you believe that scientific explanation can be (indeed, often has been) successful, as I do, then this is a reason to reject Naturalism. (shrink)
Since its original publication in 1979, The Possibility of Naturalism has been one of the most influential works in contemporary philosophy of science and social science. It is a cornerstone of the critical realist position, which is now widely seen as offering a viable alternative to move positivism and postmodernism. This revised edition includes a new foreword.
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)
This article reviews the transition between post-Fregean anti-naturalistic epistemology and contemporary naturalistic epistemologies. It traces the revival of naturalism to Quine’s critique of the "a priori", and Kuhn’s defense of historicism, and use the arguments of Quine and Kuhn to identify a position, "traditional naturalism", that combines naturalistic themes with the claim that epistemology is a normative enterprise. Pleas for more radical versions of naturalism are articulated, and briefly confronted.
Science and its philosophical companion, Naturalism, represent reality in wholly nonpersonal terms. How, if at all, can a nonpersonal scheme accommodate the first-person perspective that we all enjoy? In this volume, Lynne Rudder Baker explores that question by considering both reductive and eliminative approaches to the first-person perspective. After finding both approaches wanting, she mounts an original constructive argument to show that a non-Cartesian first-person perspective belongs in the basic inventory of what exists. That is, the world that contains (...) us persons is irreducibly personal.After arguing for the irreducibilty and ineliminability of the first-person perspective, Baker develops a theory of this perspective. The first-person perspective has two stages, rudimentary and robust. Human infants and nonhuman animals with consciousness and intentionality have rudimentary first-person perspectives. In learning a language, a person acquires a robust first-person perspective: the capacity to conceive of oneself as oneself, in the first person. By developing an account of personal identity, Baker argues that her theory is coherent, and she shows various ways in which first-person perspectives contribute to reality. (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)
The term ‘naturalism’ has no very precise meaning in contemporary philosophy. Its current usage derives from debates in America in the first half of the last century. The self-proclaimed ‘naturalists’ from that period included John Dewey, Ernest Nagel, Sidney Hook and Roy Wood Sellars. These philosophers aimed to ally philosophy more closely with science. They urged that reality is exhausted by nature, containing nothing ‘supernatural’, and that the scientific method should be used to investigate all areas of reality, including (...) the ‘human spirit’ (Krikorian 1944, Kim 2003). (shrink)
This paper examines the paradox of revisability. This paradox was proposed by Jerrold Katz as a problem for Quinean naturalised epistemology. Katz employs diagonalisation to demonstrate what he takes to be an inconsistency in the constitutive principles of Quine's epistemology. Specifically, the problem seems to rest with the principle of universal revisability which states that no statement is immune to revision. In this paper it is argued that although there is something odd about employing universal revisability to revise itself, there (...) is nothing paradoxical about this. At least, there is no paradox along the lines suggested by Katz. (shrink)
Naturalism - the thesis that all facts are natural facts, that is the facts that can be recognised and explained by a natural science - plays a central role in contemporary analytical philosophy. Yet many philosophers reject the claims of naturalism. The essays in this anthology explore the difficulties of naturalism by revealing the ambiguities surrounding it, as well as the tensions that exist among its critics.
Many contemporary Anglo-American philosophers describe themselves as naturalists. But what do they mean by that term? Popular naturalist slogans like, "there is no first philosophy" or "philosophy is continuous with the natural sciences" are far from illuminating. "Understanding Naturalism" provides a clear and readable survey of the main strands in recent naturalist thought. The origin and development of naturalist ideas in epistemology, metaphysics and semantics is explained through the works of Quine, Goldman, Kuhn, Chalmers, Papineau, Millikan and others. The (...) most common objections to the naturalist project - that it involves a change of subject and fails to engage with "real" philosophical problems, that it is self-refuting, and that naturalism cannot deal with normative notions like truth, justification and meaning - are all discussed. "Understanding Naturalism" distinguishes two strands of naturalist thinking - the constructive and the deflationary - and explains how this distinction can invigorate naturalism and the future of philosophical research. (shrink)
This book guides readers through an investigation of religion from a naturalistic perspective and explores the very meaning of the term ‘religious naturalism’. Oppy considers several widely disputed claims: that there cannot be naturalistic religion; that there is nothing in science that poses any problems for naturalism; that there is nothing in religion that poses any serious challenges to naturalism; and that there is a very strong case for thinking that naturalism defeats religion. -/- Naturalism (...) and Religion: A Contemporary Philosophical Investigation is an ideal introduction for undergraduate and postgraduate students of religious studies and philosophy who want to gain an understanding of the key themes and claims of naturalism from a religious and philosophical perspective. (shrink)
Normative cognition seems rather important, even ineliminable. Communities that lack normative concepts like SHOULD, IS A REASON TO, JUSTIFIES, etc. seem cognitively handicapped and communicatively muzzled. And yet a popular metaethic, normative naturalism, has a hard time accommodating this felt ineliminability. Here, I press the argument against normative naturalism, consider some replies on behalf of normative naturalists, and suggest that a version of sophisticated subjectivism does the best job preserving the importance and ineliminability of the special, normative way (...) of thinking. (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)
Ethical naturalism holds that ethical facts about such matters as good and bad, right and wrong, are part of a purely natural world — the world studied by the sciences. It is supported by the apparent reasonableness of many moral explanations. It has been thought to face an epistemological challenge because of the existence of an “is-ought gap”; it also faces metaphysical objections from philosophers who hold that ethical facts would have to be supernatural or “nonnatural,” sometimes on the (...) grounds that ethical thought has a practical role that no thought about purely natural facts could have. Its defenders have argued resourcefully against these challenges. (shrink)
In _Phenomenology, Naturalism and Empirical Science_, Jack Reynolds takes the controversial position that phenomenology and naturalism are compatible, and develops a hybrid account of phenomenology and empirical science. Though phenomenology and naturalism are typically understood as philosophically opposed to one another, Reynolds argues that this resistance is based on an understanding of transcendental phenomenology that is ultimately untenable and in need of updating. Phenomenology, as Reynolds reorients it, is compatible with liberal naturalism, as well as with (...) weak forms of methodological naturalism. Chapters explore areas where scientific and phenomenological work overlap and sometimes conflict, contesting standard ways of understanding the relationship between phenomenological philosophy and empirical science. The book outlines the significance of the first-person perspective characteristic of phenomenology—both epistemically and ontologically—while according due respect to the relevant empirical sciences. This book makes a significant contribution to one of the central issues in phenomenology and argues for phenomenology’s ongoing importance for the future of philosophy. (shrink)
This paper argues that a priori justification is, in principle, compatible with naturalism—if the a priori is understood in a way that is free of the inessential properties that, historically, have been associated with the concept. I argue that empirical indefeasibility is essential to the primary notion of the a priori ; however, the indefeasibility requirement should be interpreted in such a way that we can be fallibilist about apriori-justified claims. This fallibilist notion of the a priori accords with (...) the naturalist’s commitment to scientific methodology in that it allows for apriori-justified claims to be sensitive to further conceptual developments and the expansion of evidence. The fallibilist apriorist allows that an a priori claim is revisable in only a purely epistemic sense. This modal claim is weaker than what is required for a revisability thesis to establish empiricism, so fallibilist apriorism represents a distinct position. (shrink)
First, The doctrine of naturalism, That reality is spatio-Temporal, Is defended. Second, The doctrine of materialism or physicalism, That this spatio-Temporal reality involves nothing but the entities of physics working according to the principles of physics, Is defended. Third, It is argued that these doctrines do not constitute a "first philosophy." a satisfactory first philosophy should recognize universals, In the form of instantiated properties and relations. Laws of nature are constituted by relations between universals. What universals there are, And (...) what relations hold between them, Must be discovered "a posteriori" by scientific investigation. (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.
In recent years naturalism has become a focal point in the discussions of many contemporary philosophers. Philosophical Naturalism in the series Midwest Studies in Philosophy offers a broad sampling of previously unpublished essays that represent the current status of discussions of naturalism.
Realists about science tend to hold that our scientific theories aim for the truth, that our successful theories are at least partly true, and that the entities referred to by the theoretical terms of these theories exist. Antirealists about science deny one or more of these claims. A sizable minority of philosophers of science prefers not to take sides: they believe the realism debate to be fundamentally mistaken and seek to abstain from it altogether. In analogy with other realism debates (...) I will call these philosophers quietists. In the philosophy of science quietism often takes a somewhat peculiar form, which I will call naturalistic quietism. In this paper I will characterize Maddy’s Second Philosophy as a form of naturalistic quietism, and show what the costs for making it feasible are. (shrink)
The first-person perspective is a challenge to naturalism. Naturalistic theories are relentlessly third-personal. The first-person perspective is, well, first-personal; it is the perspective from which one thinks of oneself as oneself* without the aid of any third-person name, description, demonstrative or other referential device. The exercise of the capacity to think of oneself in this first-personal way is the necessary condition of all our self-knowledge, indeed of all our self-consciousness. As important as the first-person perspective is, many philosophers have (...) not appreciated the force of the data from the first-person perspective, and suppose that the first-person perspective presents no particular problems for the naturalizing philosopher. For example, Ned Block commented, “It is of course [phenomenal] consciousness rather than...self-consciousness that has seemed such a scientific mystery.” And David Chalmers says that self-consciousness is one of those psychological states that “pose no deep metaphysical enigmas.”. (shrink)
Statements about a person's good slip into and out of our ordinary discourse about the world with nary a ripple. Such statements are objects of belief and assertion, they obey the rules of logic, and they are often defended by evidence and argument. They even participate in common-sense explanations, as when we say of some person that he has been less subject to wild swings of enthusiasm and disappointment now that, with experience, he has gained a clearer idea of what (...) is good for him. Statements about a person's good present themselves as being about something with respect to which our beliefs can be true or false, warranted or unwarranted. Let us speak of these features as the descriptive side of discourse about a person's good. (shrink)
My goal in this paper is to explain what ethical naturalism is, to locate the pivotal issue between naturalists and non-naturalists, and to motivate taking naturalism seriously. I do not aim to establish the truth of naturalism nor to answer the various familiar objections to it. But I do aim to motivate naturalism sufficiently that the attempt to deal with the objections will seem worthwhile. I propose that naturalism is best understood as the view that (...) the moral properties are natural in the sense that they are empirical. I pursue certain issues in the understanding of the empirical. The crux of the matter is whether any synthetic proposition about the instantiation of a moral property is strongly a priori in that it does not admit of empirical evidence against it. I propose an argument from epistemic defeaters that, I believe, undermines the plausibility of a priorism in ethics and supports the plausibility of naturalism. (shrink)
Methodological naturalism is the assumption or working hypothesis that understanding nature (the physical world including humans and their thoughts and actions) can be understood in terms of unguided laws. There is no need to Suppose interventions (miracles) from outside. It does not commit one to metaphysical naturalism, the belief that there is nothing other than nature as we can see and observe it (in other words, that atheism is the right theology for the sound thinker). Recently the Intelligent (...) Design movement has been arguing against methodological naturalism, and in this project they have been joined by the Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga. In this paper I examine Plantinga’s arguments and conclude not only that they are not well taken, but that he does no good service to his religion either. (shrink)
This paper addresses a fundamental question in folk metaphysics: how do we ordinarily view human agency? According to the transcendence account, we view human agency as standing outside of the causal order and imbued with exceptional powers. According to a naturalistic account, we view human agency as subject to the same physical laws as other objects and completely open to scientific investigation. According to exceptionalist naturalism, the truth lies somewhere in between: we view human agency as fitting broadly within (...) the causal order while still being exceptional in important respects. In this paper, I report seven experiments designed to decide between these three competing theories. Across a variety of contexts and types of action, participants agreed that human agents can resist outcomes described as inevitable, guaranteed, and causally determined. Participants viewed non-human animal agents similarly, whereas they viewed computers, robots, and simple inanimate objects differently. At the same time, participants judged that human actions are caused by many things, including psychological, neurological, and social events. Overall, in folk metaphysics, human and non-human animals are viewed as exceptional parts of the natural world. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis paper distinguishes between the theoretical scientific image and the practical scientific image. The popular idea that there is a conceptual clash between the scientific and manifest images of the world is revealed as largely illusory. From the perspective of a liberal naturalism, the placement problem for ‘problematic’ entities or truths is not solved but dissolved. Persons, say, are not posits of any explanatory science, but beings acknowledged as rational agencies in second-personal space. Core elements of the manifest image (...) are more deeply rooted in our conceptual scheme than any version of the scientific image. (shrink)
The literature on health and diseases is usually presented as an opposition between naturalism and normativism. This article argues that such a picture is too simplistic: there is not one opposition between naturalism and normativism, but many. I distinguish four different domains where naturalist and normativist claims can be contrasted: (1) ordinary usage, (2) conceptually clean versions of “health” and “disease,” (3) the operationalization of dysfunction, and (4) the justification for that operationalization. In the process I present new (...) arguments in response to Schwartz (2007) and Hausman (2012) and expose a link between the arguments made by Schwartz (2007) and Kingma (2010). Distinguishing naturalist claims at these four domains will allow us to make progress by (1) providing more nuanced, intermediate positions about a possible role for values in health and disease; and (2) assisting in the addressing of relativistic worries about the value-ladenness of health and disease. (shrink)
This chapter pursues the question of naturalism in the context of non-Western philosophical contributions to ethics and philosophy of mind: First, what conception of naturalism, if any, is best suited to capture the scope of Buddhist Reductionism? Second, can such a conception still accommodate the distinctive features of phenomenal consciousness (e.g., subjectivity, intentionality, first-person givenness, etc.). The first section reviews dominant conceptions of naturalism, and their applicability to the Buddhist project. In the second section, the author provides (...) an example of problematic issues more stringent conceptions of naturalism under the guise of neurophysicalism confront, and evaluate Flanagan’s response to these issues. The third section considers briefly the reflexivity thesis (the thesis that consciousness consists in conscious mental states being implicitly self-aware), specifically as articulated by Dignaga, Dharmakirti and their followers, and uses this thesis to articulate a conception of minimal agency as mineness that, the author argues, further challenges Flanagan’s neurophysicalism stance and his compatibilist account of moral agency. The paper concludes, in the fourth section, by suggesting a way in which no-ownership conceptions of reflexive self-consciousness can help us both to get the structure of phenomenal consciousness right and to ground our conceptions of agency, intentionality, and moral responsibility. (shrink)
It was something of a dogma for much of the twentieth century that one cannot validly derive an ought from an is. More generally, it was held that non-normative propositions do not entail normative propositions. Call this thesis about the relation between the natural and the normative Natural-Normative Autonomy. The denial of Autonomy involves the entanglement of the natural with the normative. Naturalism entails entanglement—in fact it entails the most extreme form of entanglement—but entanglement does not entail naturalism. (...) In a ground-breaking paper “The autonomy of ethics” Arthur Prior constructed some intriguing counterexamples to Autonomy. While his counterexamples have convinced few, there is little agreement on what is wrong with them. I present a new analysis of Autonomy, one which is grounded in a general and independently plausible account of subject matters. While Prior’s arguments do establish shallow natural-normative entanglement, this is a consequence of simple logical relationships that hold between just about any two subject matters. It has nothing special to do with the logical structure of normativity or its relation to the natural. Prior’s arguments leave the fundamental idea behind natural-normative Autonomy intact. I offer a new argument for deep entanglement. I show that in any framework adequate for dealing with the natural and the normative spheres, a purely natural proposition entails a purely normative proposition, and vice-versa. But this is no threat to non-naturalist moral realism. In fact it helps ameliorate the excesses of an extreme non-naturalism, delivering a more palatable and plausible position. (shrink)
The aim of this expository paper is to give an informal overview of a plausible naturalistic case for free will. I will describe what I take to be the main naturalistically motivated challenges for free will and respond to them by presenting an indispensability argument for free will. The argument supports the reality of free will as an emergent higher-level phenomenon. I will also explain why the resulting picture of free will does not conflict with the possibility that the fundamental (...) laws of nature are deterministic, and I will address some common objections. (shrink)
Metaethical realists disagree about the nature of normative properties. Naturalists think that they are ordinary natural properties: causally efficacious, a posteriori knowable, and usable in the best explanations of natural and social sciences. Non-naturalist realists, in contrast, argue that they are sui generis: causally inert, a priori knowable and not a part of the subject matter of sciences. It has been assumed so far that naturalists can explain causally how the normative predicates manage to refer to normative properties, whereas non-naturalists (...) are unable to provide equally satisfactory metasemantic explanations. This article first describes how the previous non-naturalist accounts of reference fail to tell us how the normative predicates could have come to refer to the non-natural properties rather than to the natural ones. I will then use the so-called qua-problem to show how the causal theories of reference of naturalists also fail to fix the reference of normative predicates to unique natural properties. Finally, I will suggest that, just as naturalists need to rely on the non-causal mechanism of reference magnetism to solve the previous problem, non-naturalists, too, can rely on the very same idea to respond to the pressing metasemantic challenges that they face concerning reference. (shrink)
Several metaphysical naturalists argue that the success of science, together with the claim that scientists adhere to methodological naturalism, amounts to strong evidence for metaphysical naturalism. I call this the scientific-success argument. It is argued that the scientific-success argument is similar to the no-miracles argument for realism in philosophy of science. On the no-miracles argument, the success of science is taken as strong evidence that scientific theories are true. Based on this similarity, some considerations relevant to one argument (...) may also be relevant to the other. One particular consideration is explored. The selectionist response to the no-miracles argument states that on an evolutionary model of science, in which scientific theories are accepted only after surviving a rigorous selection process, the no-miracles argument fails. The selectionist response also applies to the scientific-success argument. If scientific theories are selected for success, we do not need to explain the success of science by appealing to metaphysical naturalism. (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)
This paper examines the relationship between methodological naturalism and the standard practice within philosophy of constructing theories on the basis of our intuitions about imaginary cases, especially in the work of Alvin Goldman. It is argued that current work in cognitive science presents serious problems for Goldman's approach.
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)
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)