Understanding Naturalism
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Series: Understanding Movements in Modern Thought
Author(s): Jack Ritchie  
ISBN: 1844650790
ISBN-13: 9781844650798
Publication Date: 30/09/2008
Pages: 232 (216 x 138mm)
Format: Paperback
Published Price: £16.99
Discount Price: £13.59
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Naturalist ideas in epistemology, metaphysics and philosophy of language have been some of the most influential in recent philosophy, yet there exists no introduction to naturalism as a distinct philosophical position. This book is it.

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. Key objections to naturalism, such as it fails to engage with “real” philosophical problems, it is self-refuting, and it cannot deal with normative notions like truth, justification and meaning, are all addressed. Ritchie distinguishes two strands of naturalist thinking – the constructive and the deflationary – and shows how this distinction can invigorate naturalism and the future of philosophical research.


"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.” – Jonathan Knowles, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Jack Ritchie is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Cape Town.

1. First Philosophy
2. Quine and Naturalized Epistemology
3. Reliabilism
4. Naturalized Philosophy of Science
5. Naturalizing Metaphysics
6. Naturalism without Physicalism?
7. Meaning and Truth
Questions for Discussion and Revision
Further Reading

Also available in Hardback (1844650782), priced 50.00

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