PHIL 2180 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Scientific Revolution, Foundationalism
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Chapter 10: Naturalistic Philosophy in Theory and Practice
What is Naturalism?
Naturalism was the answer to the question, has philosophy become irrelevant in science?
Slogan: “Philosophy should be continuous with science.”
Naturalists reject the idea that philosophy should be sharply separated from other fields. Hence,
there should be a close connection between scientific theories and philosophical theories.
Summary: Philosophy can use results from the sciences to help answer philosophical questions
and can do this within philosophy of science itself.
Foundationalism: The idea that we should do philosophy of science from an external
No assumptions should be made about the accuracy of scientific ideas.
Naturalism is opposed to foundationalism.
Can only hope to develop an adequate description of how knowledge and science work if we
draw on scientific ideas as we go.
A naturalist theory holds no “artificial ingredients.”
Could be best hope for solving core problems of philosophy of science.
Another question asked is about the relationship between common-sense and everyday view of
the world and the scientific view of the world.
Another questions is the relationship between different sciences.
Quine, Dewey, and Others:
“Epistemology Naturalized” (1969) was the birth of modern naturalism.
Quine had the most influence on naturalism.
“Epistemology Naturalized” claims:
Idea that philosophers should give foundations for scientific knowledge.
Suggested that epistemological questions are so closely tied to questions in scientific
psychology that epistemology should not survive as a distinct field at all. It instead
should be absorbed into psychology.
This is a version of philosophy that many oppose.
Usually thought of as a pragmatist, but in some way Dewey’s version of naturalism is superior
His work was neglected during the second half of the twentieth century.
A different version of naturalism states that is well supported is that there is such a thing as
philosophical questions, distinct from the questions asked by scientists. Science can contribute to the
answers to philosophical questions, without thinking that scientific questions should replace the
Normative Questions: Questions that involve a value judgement.
Philosophy is used to determine which scientific theories are best to be used.
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