Thought on Naturalism

One often hears critics of naturalism say something along the lines of ‘if all we are is the product of chemicals and matter being governed by the impersonal laws of nature, then all our thoughts and ideas are also products of chemical reactions governed by natural laws, and therefore have no meaning.’ This is often followed with ‘why should I listen to you? it’s all just a product of random physical processes!’

Now, if naturalism is true, it doesn’t follow that our faculties are unreliable, at least not in the logical sense. As folks like Plantinga have argued, it is in fact more probable, given naturalism, that our faculties aren’t trustworthy, but it’s not necessary that they be untrustworthy.


2 thoughts on “Thought on Naturalism

  1. guymax February 8, 2014 / 10:27 am

    I can never understand how or why people go ahead and define Naturalism before they know what is natural and what is not. There is no reason why one cannot be a Buddhist and endorse naturalism, What most people call naturalism is just a guess at what they think is natural, and often their guess is just simple materialism. The claim that naturalism is the same as materialism is not based on any evidence and it reduces naturalism to a metaphysical conjecture. Naturalism of this kind is not naturalistic but just a dogmatic faith.

    So the criticism of Naturalism you mention seems unfair to me. I would endorse Naturalism and reject Materialism.


    • whitefrozen February 8, 2014 / 10:33 am

      Right, it’s definitely a term with some nuance. Simplistic criticisms of a simplisticly defined idea aren’t called for at all.


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