A Naturalistic Perspective

Michael Ruse

in The Oxford Handbook of Religious Diversity

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195340136
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 A Naturalistic Perspective

Show Summary Details


Naturalism tries to explain nature through laws. Some odd event occurs and the naturalist nevertheless says that there must be a law-governed explanation behind it. The naturalist eschews supernatural explanations, miracles, and that sort of thing. If someone turned water into wine, the naturalist would be looking for deception or for impurities in the water that could ferment. Many people today distinguish between methodological naturalism, meaning the spirit of science—one insists on explanation through law—and metaphysical naturalism, the philosophy that there is nothing beyond science. This article distinguishes all forms of naturalism from scientism, the belief that science can solve all of our problems. This article presents a naturalistic approach to religious diversity, examines the views of David Hume and Charles Darwin on the subject, and contemporary thinking on religious diversity.

Keywords: David Hume; Charles Darwin; naturalism; law; science; scientism

Article.  6618 words. 

Subjects: Religion ; Comparative Religion

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.