Many contemporary Anglo-American philosophers describe themselves as naturalists. But what do they mean by that term? Popular naturalist slogans like, "there is no first philosophy" or "philosophy is continuous with the natural sciences" are far from illuminating. "Understanding Naturalism" provides a clear and readable survey of the main strands in recent naturalist thought. The origin and development of naturalist ideas in epistemology, metaphysics and semantics is explained through the works of Quine, Goldman, Kuhn, Chalmers, Papineau, Millikan and others. The most common objections to the naturalist project - that it involves a change of subject and fails to engage with "real" philosophical problems, that it is self-refuting, and that naturalism cannot deal with normative notions like truth, justification and meaning - are all discussed. "Understanding Naturalism" distinguishes two strands of naturalist thinking - the constructive and the deflationary - and explains how this distinction can invigorate naturalism and the future of philosophical research.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Number of pages: 228
Weight: 408 g
Dimensions: 216 x 138 mm
"A very useful overview of various kinds of scientific naturalism and their relevance to contemporary debates in central areas of philosophy. It should be required reading for any course or seminar studying the varieties and future direction of contemporary scientific naturalism." - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews "Ritchie's book will be of great service to those who want to understand the many facets of naturalism in contemporary analytical philosophy. I know of no other book that gives the kind of synoptic overview of the relevant issues within epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind and philosophy of language. At the same time, the author draws links and parallels between these different areas in order to sketch a naturalistic position of his own. Rather than enunciating a bland deference to science, Ritchie shows how naturalism is an issue that will keep philosophers busy for at least the forseesable future.A" - Jonathan Knowles, Norwegian University of Science and Technology