Passing by the Naturalistic Turn: on Quine's cul-de-sac

P. M. S. Hacker

in Wittgenstein: Comparisons and Context

Published in print October 2013 | ISBN: 9780199674824
Published online January 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780191761287 | DOI:
Passing by the Naturalistic Turn: on Quine's cul-de-sac

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It has been remarked that the distinctive development in philosophy over the past thirty-five years has been a naturalist turn away from the a priori methods of traditional philosophy to a conception of philosophy as continuous with natural science. This is a reversion to the conception of philosophy advanced by Russell in the 1910s. The most august modern originator of such naturalism in contemporary philosophy was Quine. He advanced three forms of naturalism: naturalized epistemology, ontological naturalism, and philosophical naturalism. This chapter shows the errors and confusions that inform all three. The programme of naturalized epistemology is incoherent, and its claim to be an enlightened substitute for epistemology unwarranted. Quine's occasional forays into epistemology are examined and found wanting.

Keywords: Quine; philosophical naturalism; naturalized epistemology; scientism; conceptual analysis

Chapter.  9333 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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