The basis of naturalism

Johnson, Michael J. (2017) The basis of naturalism. Masters thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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Abstract

This thesis explores how broadly naturalism can and should be construed. Orthodox naturalism assimilates the world of nature to the world as unveiled by the natural sciences. However, an exclusively scientistic conception of nature appears to exclude the ordinary, pre-philosophical understanding many facets of human life: minds, agency, mathematics, language, morals and normative phenomena more generally. It is clear, however, that any project that intends to expand the scope of the natural beyond that which is explicable through the natural sciences must still impose some limits if it is to retain the title of “naturalism”. Without such limits, there would be no reason to exclude paradigmatically non-natural entities, phenomena and explanations—gods, ghosts, magic, etc.—from our understanding of the world. This thesis rejects the narrow construal of nature offered by orthodox naturalism, and—without limitation to any single area of philosophy in which naturalism is a salient issue—explores the basis on which broader limits might be drawn. It addresses the question of why a more liberal naturalism, one that rejects the primacy of the natural sciences in distinguishing the natural, should still merit the label “naturalism”.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
School/Department: School of Social Sciences, History & Philosophy > Philosophy
Depositing User: ORBIT Editor
Date Deposited: 19 May 2017 18:04
Last Modified: 19 May 2017 18:04
URI: http://bbktheses.da.ulcc.ac.uk/id/eprint/240

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