Naturalism (philosophy)

In philosophy, naturalism is the "idea or belief that only natural (as opposed to supernatural or spiritual) laws and forces operate in the world."[1] Adherents of naturalism (i.e., naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the changing universe at every stage is a product of these laws.[2]

"Naturalism can intuitively be separated into an ontological and a methodological component," argues David Papineau.[3] "Ontological" refers to the philosophical study of the nature of being. Some philosophers equate naturalism with materialism. For example, philosopher Paul Kurtz argues that nature is best accounted for by reference to material principles. These principles include mass, energy, and other physical and chemical properties accepted by the scientific community. Further, this sense of naturalism holds that spirits, deities, and ghosts are not real and that there is no "purpose" in nature. Such an absolute belief in naturalism is commonly referred to as metaphysical naturalism.[4]

Assuming naturalism in working methods as the current paradigm, without the further consideration of naturalism as an absolute truth with philosophical entailment, is called methodological naturalism.[5] The subject matter here is a philosophy of acquiring knowledge based on an assumed paradigm.

With the exception of pantheists—who believe that Nature is identical with divinity while not recognizing a distinct personal anthropomorphic god—theists challenge the idea that nature contains all of reality. According to some theists, natural laws may be viewed as so-called secondary causes of God(s).

In the 20th century, Willard Van Orman Quine, George Santayana, and other philosophers argued that the success of naturalism in science meant that scientific methods should also be used in philosophy. Science and philosophy are said to form a continuum, according to this view.

Origins and history

Ancient and medieval philosophy

Naturalism was the foundation of two (Vaisheshika, Nyaya) of the six orthodox schools and one (Carvaka) heterodox school of Hinduism.[6][7] The Carvaka, Nyaya, Vaisheshika schools originated in the 7th, 6th, and 2nd century BCE, respectively.[8]

Western metaphysical naturalism originated in ancient Greek philosophy. The earliest pre-Socratic philosophers, especially the Milesians (Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes) and the atomists (Leucippus and Democritus), were labeled by their peers and successors "the physikoi" (from the Greek φυσικός or physikos, meaning "natural philosopher," borrowing on the word φύσις or physis, meaning "nature") because they investigated natural causes, often excluding any role for gods in the creation or operation of the world. This eventually led to fully developed systems such as Epicureanism, which sought to explain everything that exists as the product of atoms falling and swerving in a void.[9]

Aristotle surveyed the thought of his predecessors and conceived of nature in a way that charted a middle course between their excesses.[10]

Plato's world of eternal and unchanging Forms, imperfectly represented in matter by a divine Artisan, contrasts sharply with the various mechanistic Weltanschauungen, of which atomism was, by the fourth century at least, the most prominent… This debate was to persist throughout the ancient world. Atomistic mechanism got a shot in the arm from Epicurus… while the Stoics adopted a divine teleology… The choice seems simple: either show how a structured, regular world could arise out of undirected processes, or inject intelligence into the system. This was how Aristotle… when still a young acolyte of Plato, saw matters. Cicero… preserves Aristotle's own cave-image: if troglodytes were brought on a sudden into the upper world, they would immediately suppose it to have been intelligently arranged. But Aristotle grew to abandon this view; although he believes in a divine being, the Prime Mover is not the efficient cause of action in the Universe, and plays no part in constructing or arranging it... But, although he rejects the divine Artificer, Aristotle does not resort to a pure mechanism of random forces. Instead he seeks to find a middle way between the two positions, one which relies heavily on the notion of Nature, or phusis.[11]

With the rise and domenance of Christianity in the West and the later spread of Islam, naturalism was generally abandoned by intellectuals. Thus, there is little evidence for it in medieval philosophy. The reintroduction of Aristotle's empirical epistemology as well as previously lost treetises by Greco-Roman natural philosophers which was begun by by the medieval Scholastics without resulting in any noticeable increase in commitment to naturalism.

Modern philosophy

It was not until the early modern era of philosophy and the Age of Enlightenment that naturalists like Benedict Spinoza (who put forward a theory of psychophysical parallelism), David Hume, and the proponents of French materialism (notably Denis Diderot, Julien La Mettrie, and Baron d'Holbach) started to emerge again in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The current usage of the term naturalism "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."[12]

Currently, metaphysical naturalism is more widely embraced than in previous centuries, especially but not exclusively in the natural sciences and the Anglo-American, analytic philosophical communities. While the vast majority of the population of the world remains firmly committed to non-naturalistic worldviews, prominent contemporary defenders of naturalism and/or naturalistic theses and doctrines today include J. J. C. Smart, David Malet Armstrong, David Papineau, Paul Kurtz, Brian Leiter, Daniel Dennett, Michael Devitt, Fred Dretske, Paul and Patricia Churchland, Mario Bunge, Jonathan Schaffer, Hilary Kornblith, Quentin Smith, Paul Draper and Michael Martin, among many other academic philosophers.

According to David Papineau, contemporary naturalism is a consequence of the build-up of scientific evidence during the twentieth century for the "causal closure of the physical", the doctrine that all physical effects can be accounted for by physical causes.[13]

Etymology

The term "methodological naturalism" is much more recent though. According to Ronald Numbers, it was coined in 1983 by Paul de Vries, a Wheaton College philosopher. De Vries distinguished between what he called "methodological naturalism," a disciplinary method that says nothing about God's existence, and "metaphysical naturalism," which "denies the existence of a transcendent God."[14] The term "methodological naturalism" had been used in 1937 by Edgar S. Brightman in an article in The Philosophical Review as a contrast to "naturalism" in general, but there the idea was not really developed to its more recent distinctions.[15]

Description

According to Steven Schafersman, naturalism is a philosophy that maintains that;

  1. "Nature encompasses all that exists throughout space and time;
  2. Nature (the universe or cosmos) consists only of natural elements, that is, of spatio-temporal physical substance—massenergy. Non-physical or quasi-physical substance, such as information, ideas, values, logic, mathematics, intellect, and other emergent phenomena, either supervene upon the physical or can be reduced to a physical account;
  3. Nature operates by the laws of physics and in principle, can be explained and understood by science and philosophy;
  4. The supernatural does not exist, i.e., only nature is real. Naturalism is therefore a metaphysical philosophy opposed primarily by supernaturalism".[16]

Or, as Carl Sagan succinctly put it: "The Cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be."[17]

In addition Arthur C. Danto states that Naturalism, in recent usage, is a species of philosophical monism according to which whatever exists or happens is natural in the sense of being susceptible to explanation through methods which, although paradigmatically exemplified in the natural sciences, are continuous from domain to domain of objects and events. Hence, naturalism is polemically defined as repudiating the view that there exists or could exist any entities which lie, in principle, beyond the scope of scientific explanation.[18] Arthur Newell Strahler states: "The naturalistic view is that the particular universe we observe came into existence and has operated through all time and in all its parts without the impetus or guidance of any supernatural agency.”[19] “The great majority of contemporary philosophers urge that 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’.” Philosophers widely regard naturalism as a "positive" term, and "few active philosophers nowadays are happy to announce themselves as 'non-naturalists'".[20]

Naturalism provides assumptions required for science

All scientific study inescapably builds on at least some essential assumptions that are untested by scientific processes.[21] Science must start with some assumptions as to the ultimate analysis of the facts with which it deals. These assumptions are justified partly by their adherence to the types of occurrence of which we are directly conscious, and partly by their success in representing the observed facts with a certain generality, devoid of ad hoc suppositions."[22] Kuhn concurs that all science is based on an approved agenda of unprovable assumptions about the character of the universe, rather than merely on empirical facts. These assumptions—a paradigm—comprise a collection of beliefs, values and techniques that are held by a given scientific community, which legitimize their systems and set the limitations to their investigation.[23] For naturalists, nature is the only reality, the only paradigm. There is no such thing as 'supernatural'. The scientific method is to be used to investigate all reality, including the human spirit.[24]

Naturalism is the implicit philosophy of working scientists, that the following basic assumptions are needed to justify the scientific method:[25]

  1. that there is an objective reality shared by all rational observers.[25][26] "The basis for rationality is acceptance of an external objective reality."[27] "Objective reality is clearly an essential thing if we are to develop a meaningful perspective of the world. Nevertheless its very existence is assumed."[28] Our belief that objective reality exist is an assumption that it arises from a real world outside of ourselves. As infants we made this assumption unconsciously. People are happy to make this assumption that adds meaning to our sensations and feelings, than live with solipsism."[29] Without this assumption, there would be only the thoughts and images in our own mind (which would be the only existing mind) and there would be no need of science, or anything else."[30]
  2. that this objective reality is governed by natural laws;[25][26] "Science, at least today, assumes that the universe obeys to knoweable principles that don't depend on time or place, nor on subjective parameters such as what we think, know or how we behave."[27] Hugh Gauch argues that science presupposes that "the physical world is orderly and comprehensible."[31]
  3. that reality can be discovered by means of systematic observation and experimentation.[25][26] Stanley Sobottka said, "The assumption of external reality is necessary for science to function and to flourish. For the most part, science is the discovering and explaining of the external world."[30] "Science attempts to produce knowledge that is as universal and objective as possible within the realm of human understanding."[27]
  4. that Nature has uniformity of laws and most if not all things in nature must have at least a natural cause.[26] Biologist Stephen Jay Gould referred to these two closely related propositions as the constancy of nature's laws and the operation of known processes.[32] Simpson agrees that the axiom of uniformity of law, an unprovable postulate, is necessary in order for scientists to extrapolate inductive inference into the unobservable past in order to meaningfully study it.[33]
  5. that experimental procedures will be done satisfactorily without any deliberate or unintentional mistakes that will influence the results.[26]
  6. that experimenters won't be significantly biased by their presumptions.[26]
  7. that random sampling is representative of the entire population.[26] A simple random sample (SRS) is the most basic probabilistic option used for creating a sample from a population. The benefit of SRS is that the investigator is guaranteed to choose a sample that represents the population that ensures statistically valid conclusions.[34]

Metaphysical naturalism

Metaphysical naturalism, also called "ontological naturalism" and "philosophical naturalism", is a philosophical worldview and belief system that holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences, i.e., those required to understand our physical environment by mathematical modeling. Methodological naturalism, on the other hand, refers exclusively to the methodology of science, for which metaphysical naturalism provides only one possible ontological foundation.

Metaphysical naturalism holds that all properties related to consciousness and the mind are reducible to, or supervene upon, nature. Broadly, the corresponding theological perspective is religious naturalism or spiritual naturalism. More specifically, metaphysical naturalism rejects the supernatural concepts and explanations that are part of many religions.

Methodological naturalism

Methodological naturalism concerns itself with methods of learning what nature is. These methods are useful in the evaluation of claims about existence and knowledge and in identifying causal mechanisms responsible for the emergence of physical phenomena. It attempts to explain and test scientific endeavors, hypotheses, and events with reference to natural causes and events. This second sense of the term "naturalism" seeks to provide a framework within which to conduct the scientific study of the laws of nature. Methodological naturalism is a way of acquiring knowledge. In studies by sociologist Elaine Ecklund, religious scientists report that their religious beliefs affect the way they think about the implications - often moral - of their work, but not the way they practice science.[35]

Steven Schafersman states that methodological naturalism is "the adoption or assumption of philosophical naturalism within the scientific method with or without fully accepting or believing it ... science is not metaphysical and does not depend on the ultimate truth of any metaphysics for its success, but methodological naturalism must be adopted as a strategy or working hypothesis for science to succeed. We may therefore be agnostic about the ultimate truth of naturalism, but must nevertheless adopt it and investigate nature as if nature is all that there is."[16]

In a series of articles and books from 1996 onward, Robert T. Pennock wrote using the term "methodological naturalism" to clarify that the scientific method confines itself to natural explanations without assuming the existence or non-existence of the supernatural, and is not based on dogmatic metaphysical naturalism. Pennock's testimony as an expert witness[36] at the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial was cited by the Judge in his Memorandum Opinion concluding that "Methodological naturalism is a 'ground rule' of science today":[37]

Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena.... While supernatural explanations may be important and have merit, they are not part of science." Methodological naturalism is thus "a paradigm of science." It is a "ground rule" that "requires scientists to seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify.[38]

Schafersman asserts that "while science as a process only requires methodological naturalism, I think that the assumption of methodological naturalism by scientists and others logically and morally entails ontological naturalism",[16] and "I maintain that the practice or adoption of methodological naturalism entails a logical and moral belief in ontological naturalism, so they are not logically decoupled."[16] Scott adds that "a clear distinction must be drawn between science as a way of knowing about the natural world and science as a foundation for philosophical views. One should be taught to our children in school, and the other can optionally be taught to our children at home. Once this view is explained, I have found far more support than disagreement among my university colleagues. Even someone who may disagree with my logic or understanding of philosophy of science often understands the strategic reasons for separating methodological from philosophical materialism—if we want more Americans to understand evolution."[39][40]

Views

Alvin Plantinga

Alvin Plantinga, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at Notre Dame, and a Christian, has become a well-known critic of naturalism.[41] He suggests, in his evolutionary argument against naturalism, that the probability that evolution has produced humans with reliable true beliefs, is low or inscrutable, unless the evolution of humans was guided (for example, by God). According to David Kahan of the University of Glasgow, in order to understand how beliefs are warranted, a justification must be found in the context of supernatural theism, as in Plantinga's epistemology.[42][43][44] (See also supernormal stimuli).

Plantinga argues that together, naturalism and evolution provide an insurmountable "defeater for the belief that our cognitive faculties are reliable", i.e., a skeptical argument along the lines of Descartes' evil demon or brain in a vat.[45]

Take philosophical naturalism to be the belief that there aren't any supernatural entities - no such person as God, for example, but also no other supernatural entities, and nothing at all like God. My claim was that naturalism and contemporary evolutionary theory are at serious odds with one another - and this despite the fact that the latter is ordinarily thought to be one of the main pillars supporting the edifice of the former. (Of course I am not attacking the theory of evolution, or anything in that neighborhood; I am instead attacking the conjunction of naturalism with the view that human beings have evolved in that way. I see no similar problems with the conjunction of theism and the idea that human beings have evolved in the way contemporary evolutionary science suggests.) More particularly, I argued that the conjunction of naturalism with the belief that we human beings have evolved in conformity with current evolutionary doctrine... is in a certain interesting way self-defeating or self-referentially incoherent.

— Alvin Plantinga, Naturalism Defeated?: Essays on Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism, "Introduction"[45]

Robert T. Pennock

Robert T. Pennock contends[46] that as supernatural agents and powers "are above and beyond the natural world and its agents and powers" and "are not constrained by natural laws", only logical impossibilities constrain what a supernatural agent could not do. He states: "If we could apply natural knowledge to understand supernatural powers, then, by definition, they would not be supernatural". As the supernatural is necessarily a mystery to us, it can provide no grounds on which to judge scientific models. "Experimentation requires observation and control of the variables.... But by definition we have no control over supernatural entities or forces." Science does not deal with meanings; the closed system of scientific reasoning cannot be used to define itself. Allowing science to appeal to untestable supernatural powers would make the scientist's task meaningless, undermine the discipline that allows science to make progress, and "would be as profoundly unsatisfying as the ancient Greek playwright's reliance upon the deus ex machina to extract his hero from a difficult predicament."

Naturalism of this sort says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of the supernatural, which by this definition is beyond natural testing. As a practical consideration, the rejection of supernatural explanations would merely be pragmatic, thus it would nonetheless be possible, for an ontological supernaturalist to espouse and practice methodological naturalism. For example, scientists may believe in God while practicing methodological naturalism in their scientific work. This position does not preclude knowledge that is somehow connected to the supernatural. Generally however, anything that can be scientifically examined and explained would not be supernatural, simply by definition.

W. V. O. Quine

W. V. O. Quine describes naturalism as the position that there is no higher tribunal for truth than natural science itself. In his view, there is no better method than the scientific method for judging the claims of science, and there is neither any need nor any place for a "first philosophy", such as (abstract) metaphysics or epistemology, that could stand behind and justify science or the scientific method.

Therefore, philosophy should feel free to make use of the findings of scientists in its own pursuit, while also feeling free to offer criticism when those claims are ungrounded, confused, or inconsistent. In Quine's view, philosophy is "continuous with" science and both are empirical.[47] Naturalism is not a dogmatic belief that the modern view of science is entirely correct. Instead, it simply holds that science is the best way to explore the processes of the universe and that those processes are what modern science is striving to understand. However, this Quinean Replacement Naturalism finds relatively few supporters among philosophers.[48]

Karl Popper

Karl Popper equated naturalism with inductive theory of science. He rejected it based on his general critique of induction (see problem of induction), yet acknowledged its utility as means for inventing conjectures.

A naturalistic methodology (sometimes called an "inductive theory of science") has its value, no doubt.... I reject the naturalistic view: It is uncritical. Its upholders fail to notice that whenever they believe to have discovered a fact, they have only proposed a convention. Hence the convention is liable to turn into a dogma. This criticism of the naturalistic view applies not only to its criterion of meaning, but also to its idea of science, and consequently to its idea of empirical method.

— Karl R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, (Routledge, 2002), pp. 52–53, ISBN 0-415-27844-9.

Popper instead proposed that science should adopt a methodology based on falsifiability for demarcation, because no number of experiments can ever prove a theory, but a single experiment can contradict one. Popper holds that scientific theories are characterized by falsifiability.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary Online naturalism
  2. ^ "CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Naturalism". 21 November 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2012. Naturalism is not so much a special system as a point of view or tendency common to a number of philosophical and religious systems; not so much a well-defined set of positive and negative doctrines as an attitude or spirit pervading and influencing many doctrines. As the name implies, this tendency consists essentially in looking upon nature as the one original and fundamental source of all that exists, and in attempting to explain everything in terms of nature. Either the limits of nature are also the limits of existing reality, or at least the first cause, if its existence is found necessary, has nothing to do with the working of natural agencies. All events, therefore, find their adequate explanation within nature itself. But, as the terms nature and natural are themselves used in more than one sense, the term naturalism is also far from having one fixed meaning.
  3. ^ Papineau, David (22 February 2007). "Naturalism". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  4. ^ Kurtz, Paul (Spring 1998). "Darwin Re-Crucified: Why Are So Many Afraid of Naturalism?". Free Inquiry. 18 (2).
  5. ^ Schafersman, Steven D. (1996). "Naturalism is Today An Essential Part of Science". Methodological naturalism is the adoption or assumption of naturalism in scientific belief and practice without really believing in naturalism.
  6. ^ Chatterjee, A (2012). Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). "Naturalism in Classical Indian Philosophy". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2014 Edition).
  7. ^ Riepe, Dale (1996). Naturalistic Tradition in Indian Thought, Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 227–246. ISBN 978-8120812932.
  8. ^ Leaman, Oliver (1999). Key Concepts in Eastern Philosophy. Routledge. p. 269. ISBN 978-0415173629.
  9. ^ O'Keefe, Tim (2010). Epicureanism. University of California Press. pp. 11–13.
  10. ^ See especially Physics, books I and II.
  11. ^ Hankinson, R. J. (1997). Cause and Explanation in Ancient Greek Thought. Oxford University Press. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-19-924656-4.
  12. ^ Papineau, David "Naturalism", in "The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy"
  13. ^ David Papineau, "The Rise of Physicalism" in Physicalism and its Discontents, Cambridge (2011). URL:http://ebooks.cambridge.org/ebook.jsf?bid=CBO9780511570797
  14. ^ Nick Matzke: On the Origins of Methodological Naturalism. The Pandas Thumb (March 20, 2006)
  15. ^ "ASA March 2006 – Re: Methodological Naturalism".
  16. ^ a b c d Schafersman 1996.
  17. ^ Sagan, Carl (2002). Cosmos. Random House. ISBN 9780375508325.
  18. ^ Danto, Arthur C. "Naturalism". The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Editor Stone 2008, p. 2 "Personally, I place great emphasis on the phrase "in principle", since there are many things that science does not now explain. And perhaps we need some natural piety concerning the ontological limit question as to why there is anything at all. But the idea that naturalism is a polemical notion is important".
  19. ^ Strahler 1992, p. 3
  20. ^ Papineau 2007
  21. ^ Priddy, Robert (1998). "Chapter Five, Scientific Objectivity in Question". Science Limited.
  22. ^ Whitehead 1997, p. 135.
  23. ^ Boldman, Lee (2007). "Chapter 6, The Privileged Status of Science" (PDF).
  24. ^ Papineau, David "Naturalism", in "The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy", quote, "The great majority of contemporary philosophers would happily... reject 'supernatural' entities, and allow that science is a possible route (if not necessarily the only one) to important truths about the 'human spirit'."
  25. ^ a b c d Heilbron 2003, p. vii.
  26. ^ a b c d e f g Chen 2009, pp. 1-2.
  27. ^ a b c Durak 2008.
  28. ^ Vaccaro, Joan. "Reality". Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  29. ^ Vaccaro, Joan. "Objectiveism". Retrieved 22 December 2017. Objective reality exists beyond or outside our self. Any belief that it arises from a real world outside us is actually an assumption. It seems more beneficial to assume that an objective reality exists than to live with solipsism, and so people are quite happy to make this assumption. In fact we made this assumption unconsciously when we began to learn about the world as infants. The world outside ourselves appears to respond in ways which are consistent with it being real. The assumption of objectivism is essential if we are to attach the contemporary meanings to our sensations and feelings and make more sense of them.
  30. ^ a b Sobottka 2005, p. 11.
  31. ^ Gauch 2002, p. 154, "Expressed as a single grand statement, science presupposes that the physical world is orderly and comprehensible. The most obvious components of this comprehensive presupposition are that the physical world exists and that our sense perceptions are generally reliable."
  32. ^ Gould 1987, p. 120, "You cannot go to a rocky outcrop and observe either the constancy of nature's laws or the working of known processes. It works the other way around." You first assume these propositions and "then you go to the outcrop of rock."
  33. ^ Simpson 1963, pp. 24–48, "Uniformity is an unprovable postulate justified, or indeed required, on two grounds. First, nothing in our incomplete but extensive knowledge of history disagrees with it. Second, only with this postulate is a rational interpretation of history possible and we are justified in seeking—as scientists we must seek—such a rational interpretation."
  34. ^ "Simple Random Sampling". A simple random sample (SRS) is the most basic probabilistic option used for creating a sample from a population. Each SRS is made of individuals drawn from a larger population, completely at random. As a result, said individuals have an equal chance of being selected throughout the sampling process. The benefit of SRS is that as a result, the investigator is guaranteed to choose a sample which is representative of the population, which ensures statistically valid conclusions.
  35. ^ Ecklund, Elaine Howard (2010). Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195392982.
  36. ^ "Kitzmiller v. Dover: Day 3, AM: Robert Pennock (continued)". www.talkorigins.org.
  37. ^ Kitzmiller v. Dover: Whether ID is Science
  38. ^ Judge John E. Jones, III Decision of the Court Expert witnesses were John F. Haught, Robert T. Pennock, and Kenneth R. Miller. Links in the original to specific testimony records have been deleted here.
  39. ^ Scott, Eugenie C. (1996). ""Creationism, Ideology, and Science"". In Gross, Levitt, and Lewis (eds.). The Flight From Science and Reason. The New York Academy of Sciences. pp. 519–520.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
  40. ^ Scott, Eugenie C. (2008). "Science and Religion, Methodology and Humanism". NCSE. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  41. ^ Beilby, J.K. (2002). Naturalism Defeated?: Essays on Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. G - Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series. Cornell University Press. p. ix. ISBN 9780801487637. LCCN 2001006111.
  42. ^ "Gifford Lecture Series - Warrant and Proper Function 1987-1988".
  43. ^ Plantinga, Alvin (11 April 2010). "Evolution, Shibboleths, and Philosophers — Letters to the Editor". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ...I do indeed think that evolution functions as a contemporary shibboleth by which to distinguish the ignorant fundamentalist goats from the informed and scientifically literate sheep.

    According to Richard Dawkins, 'It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).' Daniel Dennett goes Dawkins one (or two) further: 'Anyone today who doubts that the variety of life on this planet was produced by a process of evolution is simply ignorant—inexcusably ignorant.' You wake up in the middle of the night; you think, can that whole Darwinian story really be true? Wham! You are inexcusably ignorant.

    I do think that evolution has become a modern idol of the tribe. But of course it doesn't even begin to follow that I think the scientific theory of evolution is false. And I don't.
  44. ^ Plantinga, Alvin (1993). Warrant and Proper Function. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Chap. 11. ISBN 0-19-507863-2.
  45. ^ a b Beilby, J.K., ed. (2002). "Introduction by Alvin Plantinga". Naturalism Defeated?: Essays on Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism. Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. pp. 1–2, 10. ISBN 978-0-8014-8763-7. LCCN 2001006111.
  46. ^ Robert T. Pennock, Supernaturalist Explanations and the Prospects for a Theistic Science or "How do you know it was the lettuce?"
  47. ^ Lynne Rudder (2013). Naturalism and the First-Person Perspective. Oxford University Press. p. 5. ISBN 0199914745.
  48. ^ Feldman, Richard (2012). "Naturalized Epistemology". In Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2012 ed.). Retrieved 2014-06-04. Quinean Replacement Naturalism finds relatively few supporters.

References

Books
  • Audi, Robert (1996). "Naturalism". In Borchert, Donald M. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Philosophy Supplement. USA: Macmillan Reference. pp. 372–374.
  • Carrier, Richard (2005). Sense and Goodness without God: A defense of Metaphysical Naturalism. AuthorHouse. p. 444. ISBN 1-4208-0293-3.
  • Gould, Stephen J. (1984). "Toward the vindication of punctuational change in catastrophes and earth history". In Bergren, W. A.; Van Couvering, J. A. (eds.). Catastrophes and Earth History. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
  • Gould, Stephen J. (1987). Time’s Arrow, Time’s Cycle: Myth and Metaphor in the Discovery of Geological Time. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. p. 119.
  • Danto, Arthur C. (1967). "Naturalism". In Edwords, Paul (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. New York: The Macmillan Co. and The Free Press. pp. 448–450.
  • Hooykaas, R. (1963). The principle of uniformity in geology, biology, and theology (2nd ed.). London: E.J. Brill.
  • Kurtz, Paul (1990). Philosophical Essays in Pragmatic Naturalism. Prometheus Books.
  • Lacey, Alan R. (1995). "Naturalism". In Honderich, Ted (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford University Press. pp. 604–606.
  • Post, John F. (1995). "Naturalism". In Audi, Robert (ed.). The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 517–518.
  • Rea, Michael (2002). World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-924760-9.
  • Sagan, Carl (2002). Cosmos. Random House. ISBN 978-0-375-50832-5.
  • Simpson, G. G. (1963). "Historical science". In Albritton Jr., C. C. (ed.). Fabric of geology. Stanford, California: Freeman, Cooper, and Company.
  • Strahler, Arthur N. (1992). Understanding Science: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues. Buffalo: Prometheus Books.
  • Stone, J.A. (2008). Religious Naturalism Today: The Rebirth of a Forgotten Alternative. G - Reference, Information and Interdisciplinary Subjects Series. State University of New York Press. p. 2. ISBN 978-0-7914-7537-9. LCCN 2007048682.
Web

Further reading

  • Mario De Caro and David Macarthur (eds) Naturalism in Question. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2004.
  • Mario De Caro and David Macarthur (eds) Naturalism and Normativity. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.
  • Friedrich Albert Lange, The History of Materialism, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co Ltd, 1925, ISBN 0-415-22525-6
  • David Macarthur, "Quinean Naturalism in Question," Philo. vol 11, no. 1 (2008).
Adolf Dygasiński

Adolf Dygasiński (March 7, 1839, Niegosławice–June 3, 1902, Grodzisk Mazowiecki) was a Polish novelist, publicist and educator. In Polish literature, he was one of the leading representatives of Naturalism.

Analog observation

Analog observation is, in contrast to naturalistic observation, a research tool by which a subject is observed in an artificial setting. Typically, types of settings in which analog observation is utilized include clinical offices or research laboratories, but, by definition, analog observations can be made in any artificial environment, even if the environment is one which the subject is likely to encounter naturally.

Biological naturalism

Biological naturalism is a theory about, among other things, the relationship between consciousness and body (i.e. brain), and hence an approach to the mind–body problem. It was first proposed by the philosopher John Searle in 1980 and is defined by two main theses: 1) all mental phenomena from pains, tickles, and itches to the most abstruse thoughts are caused by lower-level neurobiological processes in the brain; and 2) mental phenomena are higher-level features of the brain.

This entails that the brain has the right causal powers to produce intentionality. However, Searle's biological naturalism does not entail that brains and only brains can cause consciousness. Searle is careful to point out that while it appears to be the case that certain brain functions are sufficient for producing conscious states, our current state of neurobiological knowledge prevents us from concluding that they are necessary for producing consciousness. In his own words:

"The fact that brain processes cause consciousness does not imply that only brains can be conscious. The brain is a biological machine, and we might build an artificial machine that was conscious; just as the heart is a machine, and we have built artificial hearts. Because we do not know exactly how the brain does it we are not yet in a position to know how to do it artificially." (Biological Naturalism, 2004)

Brights movement

The Brights Movement is a social movement whose members refer to themselves as Brights and have a worldview of philosophical naturalism.

Most Brights believe that public policies should be based on science (a body of knowledge obtained and tested by use of the scientific method). Brights are likely to oppose the practice of basing public policies on supernatural doctrines. Brights may therefore be described as secularists.

The most politically active Brights frequently and openly advocate scientocracy, the practice of basing public policies on science. They look forward to living in an era when the best available scientific evidence provides a foundation for the humane and compassionate operation of human societies.

Classical Marxism

Classical Marxism refers to the economic, philosophical and sociological theories expounded by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels as contrasted with later developments in Marxism, especially Leninism and Marxism–Leninism.

Cognitive closure (philosophy)

"Transcendental naturalism" redirects here. Not to be confused with F. W. J. Schelling's transcendental naturalism.In philosophy of science and philosophy of mind, cognitive closure is the proposition that human minds are constitutionally incapable of solving certain perennial philosophical problems. Owen Flanagan calls this position anti-constructive naturalism or the "new mysterianism" and the primary advocate of the hypothesis, Colin McGinn, calls it transcendental naturalism acknowledging the possibility that solutions may be an intelligent non-human of some kind. According to McGinn, such philosophical questions include the mind-body problem, identity of the self, foundations of meaning, free will, and knowledge, both a priori and empirical.

Ethical naturalism

Ethical naturalism (also called moral naturalism or naturalistic cognitivistic definism) is the meta-ethical view which claims that:

Ethical sentences express propositions.

Some such propositions are true.

Those propositions are made true by objective features of the world, independent of human opinion.

These moral features of the world are reducible to some set of non-moral features

Hempel's dilemma

Hempel's dilemma is a question first asked (at least on record) by the philosopher Carl Hempel. It has relevance to naturalism and physicalism in philosophy, and to philosophy of mind.

Humanistic naturalism

Humanistic naturalism is the branch of philosophical naturalism wherein human beings are best able to control and understand the world through use of the scientific method, combined with the social and ethical values of humanism. Concepts of spirituality, intuition, and metaphysics are considered subjectively valuable only, primarily because they are unfalsifiable, and therefore can never progress beyond the realm of personal opinion. A boundary is not drawn between nature and what lies "beyond" nature; everything is regarded as a result of explainable processes within nature, with nothing lying outside it.The belief is that all living things are intricate extensions of nature, and therefore deserve some degree of mutual respect from human beings. Naturalists accept the need for adaptation to current change, however it may be, and also that life must feed upon life for survival. However, they also recognize the necessity for a fair exchange of resources between all species. Humanistic naturalists are generally concerned with the ethical aspects of "worldview naturalism."Industry and technology are sometimes regarded as enemies to naturalism, but this is not always the case. For those who do believe in such threats, the thought is that the majority of human history, societies were largely agricultural and hunter-gatherer and lived in relative harmony and balance with nature. With the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, some humanistic naturalists see this balance as being increasingly threatened. This view has some similarities with anarcho-primitivism and other anti-modernist perspectives.

Legal naturalism

Legal naturalism is a term coined by Olufemi Taiwo to describe a current in the social philosophy of Karl Marx which can be interpreted as one of natural law. Taiwo considered it the manifestation of Natural Law in a dialectical materialist context.

Liberal naturalism

Liberal naturalism is a heterodox form of metaphysical naturalism that lies in the conceptual space between scientific (or reductive) naturalism and supernaturalism. It allows that one can respect the explanations and results of the successful sciences without supposing that the sciences are our only resource for understanding humanity and our dealings with the world and each other.

The term was introduced in 2004 by Mario De Caro & David Macarthur and, independently, by Gregg Rosenberg. This form of naturalism has been ascribed to Immanuel Kant.

Mechanical philosophy

The mechanical philosophy is a natural philosophy describing the universe as similar to a large-scale mechanism. Mechanical philosophy is associated with the scientific revolution of Early Modern Europe. One of the first expositions of universal mechanism is found in the opening passages of Leviathan by Hobbes published in 1651.

Some intellectual historians and critical theorists argue that early mechanical philosophy was tied to disenchantment and the rejection of the idea of nature as living or animated by spirits or angels. Other scholars, however, have noted that early mechanical philosophers nevertheless believed in magic, Christianity and spiritualism.

Naturalistic observation

Naturalistic observation is, in contrast to analog observation, a research tool in which a subject is observed in its natural habitat without any manipulation by the observer. During naturalistic observation, researchers take great care to avoid interfering with the behavior they are observing by using unobtrusive methods. Naturalistic observation involves two main differences that set it apart from other forms of data gathering. In the context of a naturalistic observation, the environment is in no way being manipulated by the observer nor was it created by the observer.

Naturalistic observation, as a research tool, comes with both advantages and disadvantages that impact its application. By merely observing at a given instance without any manipulation in its natural context, it makes the behaviors exhibited more credible because they are occurring in a real, typical scenario as opposed to an artificial one generated within a lab. Naturalistic observation also allows for study of events that are deemed unethical to study via experimental models, such as the impact of high school shootings on students attending the high school. Naturalistic observation is used in many techniques, from watching an animal's eating patterns in the forest to observing the behavior of students in a school setting.

Naturalistic pantheism

Naturalistic pantheism is a kind of pantheism. It has been used in various ways such as to relate God or divinity with concrete things, determinism, or the substance of the Universe. God, from these perspectives, is seen as the aggregate of all unified natural phenomena. The phrase has often been associated with the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza, although academics differ on how it is used.

Naturalized epistemology

Naturalized epistemology, coined by W. V. O. Quine, is a collection of philosophic views concerned with the theory of knowledge that emphasize the role of natural scientific methods. This shared emphasis on scientific methods of studying knowledge shifts focus to the empirical processes of knowledge acquisition and away from many traditional philosophical questions. There are noteworthy distinctions within naturalized epistemology. Replacement naturalism maintains that traditional epistemology should be abandoned and replaced with the methodologies of the natural sciences. The general thesis of cooperative naturalism is that traditional epistemology can benefit in its inquiry by using the knowledge we have gained from the cognitive sciences. Substantive naturalism focuses on an asserted equality of facts of knowledge and natural facts.

Objections to naturalized epistemology have targeted features of the general project as well as characteristics of specific versions. Some objectors suggest that natural scientific knowledge cannot be circularly grounded by the knowledge obtained through cognitive science, which is itself a natural science. This objection from circularity has been aimed specifically at strict replacement naturalism. There are similar challenges to substance naturalism that maintain that the substance naturalists' thesis that all facts of knowledge are natural facts is not only circular but fails to accommodate certain facts. Several other objectors have found fault in the inability of naturalized methods to adequately address questions about what value forms of potential knowledge have or lack. Naturalized epistemology is generally opposed to the antipsychologism of Immanuel Kant, Gottlob Frege, Karl Popper, Edmund Husserl and others.

Newtonianism

Newtonianism is a philosophical and scientific doctrine inspired by the beliefs and methods of natural philosopher Isaac Newton. While Newton's influential contributions were primarily in physics and mathematics, his broad conception of the universe as being governed by rational and understandable laws laid the foundation for many strands of Enlightenment thought. Newtonianism became an influential intellectual program that applied Newton's principles in many avenues of inquiry, laying the groundwork for modern science (both the natural and social sciences), in addition to influencing philosophy, political thought and theology.

Orthodox Marxism

Orthodox Marxism is the body of Marxism thought that emerged after the death of Karl Marx (1818–1883) and which became the official philosophy of the socialist movement as represented in the Second International until the First World War in 1914. Orthodox Marxism aims to simplify, codify and systematize Marxist method and theory by clarifying the perceived ambiguities and contradictions of classical Marxism.

The philosophy of orthodox Marxism includes the understanding that material development (advances in technology in the productive forces) is the primary agent of change in the structure of society and of human social relations and that social systems and their relations (e.g. feudalism, capitalism and so on) become contradictory and inefficient as the productive forces develop, which results in some form of social revolution arising in response to the mounting contradictions. This revolutionary change is the vehicle for fundamental society-wide changes and ultimately leads to the emergence of new economic systems.In the term orthodox Marxism, the word "orthodox" refers to the methods of historical materialism and of dialectical materialism—and not the normative aspects inherent to classical Marxism, without implying dogmatic adherence to the results of Marx's investigations.

Philo (journal)

Philo was a peer-reviewed academic journal published by the Society of Humanist Philosophers from 1998 to 2014. It is published at the Center for Inquiry with assistance from Purdue University. It focused on the discussion of philosophical issues from an explicitly naturalist perspective. The journal published articles, critical discussions, review essays, and book reviews in all fields of philosophy, and particularly invited work on the philosophical credentials of both naturalism and various supernaturalist alternatives to naturalism. Electronic access to the journal is provided by the Philosophy Documentation Center.

World Pantheist Movement

The World Pantheist Movement (WPM) is the world's largest organization of people associated with pantheism, a philosophy which asserts that spirituality should be centered on nature. The WPM promotes naturalistic pantheismThe WPM grew out of a mailing list started by Paul Harrison in 1997, arising around his Scientific Pantheism website. An initial group of 15 volunteers worked on a joint statement of agreed beliefs (the Pantheist Credo). The WPM officially opened for membership in December 1999.

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