Is Science Really What Naturalism Says it is?

  • 1 Department of Human Sciences, University of Milan-Bicocca

Abstract

In spite of the relevance of a scientific representation of the world for naturalism, it is surprising that philosophy of science is less involved in the debate on naturalism than expected. Had the viewpoint of philosophy of science been duly considered, naturalism could not have overlooked the established lesson, according to which there is no well-defined recipe for what science must or must not be. In the present paper I address some implications of this lesson for (some forms of) naturalism, arguing that a radically naturalistic outlook fails to pay sufficient attention to some of the main lessons that philosophy of science has taught us concerning the nature of scientific theories. One of these lessons is that real scientific theories are far more normative than ordinary scientific naturalism is ready to accept, a circumstance that at a minimum is bound to force most naturalization strategies to re-define their significance.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Almeder R. 1998, Harmless Naturalism. The Limits of Science and the Nature of Philosophy, Open Court, Chicago & La Salle, Ilinois.

  • Andler D. 2009, “Is naturalism the unsurpassable philosophy for the sciences of man in the 21st century?”, in Stadler, F., Hartmann, S., Dieks, D., Gonzalez, W.J., Uebel, T., Weber, M. (eds.), The Present Situation in the Philosophy of Science, Springer, Berlin, pp. 283-304.

  • Armstrong D. 1981, The Nature of the Mind and Other Essays, Cornell University Press, Ithaca N.Y.

  • Armstrong D. 1983, What is a Law of Nature?, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

  • Bird A. 2005, “Naturalizing Kuhn”, in Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 105, pp. 109–27.

  • Bogen J. Woodward J. 1988, “Saving Phenomena”, The Philosophical Review 97, pp. 303-352.

  • Bonjour L. 2006, “Kornblith on knowledge and epistemology”, in Philosophical Studies 127, pp. 317-335.

  • Braddon-Mitchell D., Nola R. (eds.) 2009, Conceptual Analysis and Philosophical Naturalism, MIT Press, Cambridge MA.

  • Chandrasekharan, S. & Nersessian, N.J. 2015, “Building cognition: the construction of computational representations for scientific discovery” Cognitive Science 39, pp.1727-1763.

  • De Caro M., Macarthur D. (eds.), 2004, Naturalism in Question, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA.

  • De Caro M., Macarthur D. (eds.), 2010, Naturalism and Normativity, Columbia University Press, New York.

  • Doppelt G. 1990, “The Naturalist Conception of Methodological Standards in Science: a Critique”, in Philosophy of Science 57, pp. 1-19.

  • Dürr D., Goldstein S., Zanghì N. 2013, Quantum Physics without Quantum Philosophy, Berlin, Springer.

  • Feldman R. 2012, “Naturalized Epistemology”, in E.N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2012/entries/epistemology-naturalized/>.

  • Franssen M., Lokhorst G.J., van de Poel I. 2015, “Philosophy of Technology”, in E.N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2015/entries/technology/>.

  • Freedman K. 1999, “Laudan’s naturalistic axiology”, in Philosophy of Science 66 (Proceedings), pp. S526-S537.

  • Fuchs C.A., Peres A.2000, “Quantum theory needs no ‘interpretation’ “, Physics Today, March issue, pp. 71-72.

  • Giere R., 1999: Science without Laws, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

  • Guillermin M., Dedeurwaerdere T. 2013, “Disagreement, Bell’s Inequalities and Realism: The Role of Epistemic Values in Contemporary Approaches to Quantum Mechanics”, paper available at Social Science Research Network: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2284104.

  • Heisenberg W. 1971, Physics and Beyond, Harper, New York.

  • Holger A. 2013, “Theoretical Terms in Science”, in E.N. Zalta (ed.), The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2013/entries/theoretical-terms-science/>.

  • Horgan T, Timmons M. 1993, “Metaphysical Naturalism, Semantic Normativity, and Meta-Semantic Irrealism”, Philosophical Issues Vol. 4, Naturalism and Normativity, pp. 180-204.

  • Horst S. 2007, Beyond Reduction, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • Houkes W., 2002: “Normativity in Quine’s naturalism: the technology of truth-seeking?”, in Journal for General Philosophy of Science 33, pp. 251-267.

  • Kim J., 1988, “What is ‘naturalized epistemology’?”, Philosophical Perspectives 2, pp. 381-405.

  • Kim J. 2003, “The American origins of philo sophical naturalism”, in Journal of Philosophical Research, APA Centennial Volume, pp. 83-98.

  • Kitcher P. 1992, “The naturalists return”, in The Philosophical Review 101, pp. 53-114.

  • Knowles J. 2002, “What’s Really Wrong with Laudan’s Normative Naturalism”, International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 16, pp. 171-186.

  • Kornblith H. 1994a, “Introduction: What is Naturalistic Epistemology?”, in Kornblith H. (ed.), Naturalizing Epistemology, 2d ed., MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, pp. 1–14.

  • Kornblith H. 1994b, “Naturalism: Both Metaphysical and Epistemological”, Midwest Studies in Philosophy 19, pp. 39-52.

  • Kornblith H. 2002, Knowledge and its Place in Nature, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • Kovac L. 2007, “Information and knowledge in biology”, Plant Signaling and Behavior 2, pp. 65–73.

  • Kroes P., Meijers A. 2006, “The Dual Nature of Technical Artefacts”, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 37, pp. 1-4.

  • Kuhn T.S. 1996, The Structure of the Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

  • Laudan L. 1987, “Progress or rationality? The prospects for normative naturalism”, in American Philosophical Quarterly 24, pp. 19-31.

  • Laudan L. 1990, “Normative naturalism”, in Philosophy of Science 57, pp. 44-59.

  • Loewer B. 1997, “A Guide to Naturalizing Semantics”, in B. Hale and C. Wright (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Language, Blackwell, Malden, MA:, pp. 108-126.

  • MacLaurin J., Dyke H. 2012, “What is analytic metaphysics for?”, Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90, pp. 291-306.

  • Maddy P. 2007, Second Philosophy. A Naturalistic Method, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

  • Nagel E. 1956, “Naturalism reconsidered”, in Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 28, pp. 5-17.

  • Papineau D., 2009: Naturalism, in «The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy », <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2009/entries/naturalism/>.

  • Peierls R. 1986, in P.C.W.Davies, J.R. Brown (eds.), The Ghost in the Atom, Cambridge University Press, pp. 70-82.

  • Quine W.V.O. 1969, Ontological Relativity and Other Essays, Columbia University Press, New York.

  • Quine W.V.O. 1986, Reply to Morton White, in L. Hahn, P. Schilpp (eds.), The Philosophy of W.V.O. Quine, The Library of Living Philosophers, Open Court, La Salle.

  • Radder H. 2009, “Why Technologies are Inherently Normative”, in D. Gabbay, P. Thagard, J. Woods (eds.), Handbook of the Philosophy of Science, Vol. 9 (ed. by A. Meijers): Philosophy of Technology and Engineering Sciences, Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp. 887-921.

  • Ramstead M.J.D 2015, “Naturalizing what? Varieties of naturalism and transcendental phenomenology”, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14, pp. 929-971.

  • Rysiew, P. 2016, “Naturalism in Epistemology”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2016 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2016/entries/epistemology-naturalized/>.

  • Sellars W. 1963, Science, Perception and Reality, Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd; London, and The Humanities Press: New York, 1963.

  • Siegel H. 1990, “Laudan’s normative naturalism”, in Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 21, pp. 295-313.

  • Sklar L. 2001, “Naturalism and the Interpretation of Theories”, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, 75, pp. 43-58.

  • Stein H. 1993, “On Philosophy and Natural Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century”, Midwest Studies In Philosophy 18, pp. 177–201.

  • Suppe F., 1989, The Semantic Conception of Theories and Scientific Realism, University of Illinois Press, Chicago.

  • Van Fraassen B. 1980, The Scientific Image, Clarendon, Oxford.

  • Wright W. 2007, “Why Naturalize Consciousness?”, Southern Journal of Philosophy 45, pp. 583-607.

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Search