Naturalism: Ups and Downs

Jan Woleński


This paper tries to show virtues and difficulties of naturalism as a philosophical projects. After a preliminary characterization of naturalism as a view admitting that only spatiotemporal facts exist and rejecting the existence of any supernatural (transcending scientific and ordinary object), a short history of naturalism is outlined. The historical report motivates some distinctions, namely (a) ontological, epistemological naturalism; (b) radical naturalism vs. moderate naturalism; (c) global naturalism vs. local naturalism; (d) naturalism as a theory (theoretical naturalism) vs. naturalism as a method (methodological naturalism); (e) naturalism as a program vs. naturalism as a doctrine. The author opts for the combination of moderate, local, methodological and programmatic naturalism. The general strategy of naturalizing something is illustrated by the case of normative discourse. In particular, Hume’s thesis that ought-sentences are not logically derivable from is-sentences is examined by tools provided y deontic logic. The main conclusion is this: although naturalism must meet several deep difficulties, the opposite view, that is, anti-naturalism is essentially dubious, because I recommends mysterious ontology and epistemology.


nature; transcendenta; facts; anti-naturalism; ontology; epistemology; axiology; deontic logic

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