The Charm of Naturalism

Barry Stroud

in Philosophers Past and Present

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199608591
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729621 | DOI:
The Charm of Naturalism

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This chapter takes up the question of the nature of naturalism more broadly, moving beyond Hume to the prospects of philosophical illumination from any distinctive enterprise worthy of that name. If naturalism as a method of investigation can appeal only to what is so in ‘the natural world’, there is a question what that conception of the natural world excludes, and why. If it excludes nothing, or only whatever there is no good reason to accept, naturalism would be indistinguishable from responsible enquiry in general. If what it excludes is thereby rendered unavailable for explaining the ways of thinking and feeling that are to be given a naturalistic explanation, there is a question how irreducible beliefs that are not expressible in fully ‘naturalistic’ terms are to be explained. They apparently include not only beliefs about the colours of things and about enduring objects and causation, but also evaluative beliefs, and even beliefs in the truths of logic and mathematics.

Keywords: naturalism; natural world; beliefs; causation; responsible enquiry

Chapter.  7183 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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