The Transparency 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 Transparency of ‘Naturalism’

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This chapter raises the problem of naturalism's distinctive character. Because the term ‘naturalism’ takes its meaning in each case from what is conceived as falling within the limits of the ‘natural’ world, it is best understood by looking right through the term itself to whatever it is being used to stand for in this or that application. The chapter rehearses some of the dissatisfactions of Humean naturalism and explains how parallel difficulties would undermine any apparently tough-minded naturalism that tries to exclude even intentional attitudes and meaning from the fully ‘natural’ world. That would leave us with no psychological facts, and so not even a conception of the world, to be explained naturalistically or otherwise. In disputes about naturalism, what is in question seems always to be something else, not the merits of naturalism itself.

Keywords: naturalism; natural world; Hume; intentional attitudes; meaning

Chapter.  6756 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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