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Turning Images in Philosophy, Science, and ReligionA New Book of Nature$
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Charles Taliaferro and Jil Evans

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199563340

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199563340.001.0001

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Naturalism Lost: Nature Regained

Naturalism Lost: Nature Regained

(p.156) Eight Naturalism Lost: Nature Regained
Turning Images in Philosophy, Science, and Religion

Conor Cunningham

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that while methodological naturalism is an essential component of scientific inquiry, metaphyscial naturalism threatens to undermine the very practice and intelligibility of science. It contends that metaphysical naturalism is a form of scientism, the view that the physical sciences offer an exhaustive description and explanation of reality. Such a position seems to render consciousness, values, the existence of a substantial self, and reason deeply problematic. Science itself as a practice seems, however, to require consciousness, values, substantial selves, and reason; thus scientism appears to undermine science itself. The chapter highlights a major problem with contemporary materialism: the difficulty of formulating a clear conception of what counts as material. In contrast with metaphysical naturalism, it proposes that a theistic framework is better able to account for the natural world; naturalism leads to our loss of nature as we know it.

Keywords:   methodological naturalism, scientific inquiry, metaphysical naturalism, naturalism, scientism, science

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