TITLE

Does Science Presuppose Naturalism (or Anything at All)?

AUTHOR(S)
Fishman, Yonatan; Boudry, Maarten
PUB. DATE
May 2013
SOURCE
Science & Education;May2013, Vol. 22 Issue 5, p921
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Several scientists, scientific institutions, and philosophers have argued that science is committed to Methodological Naturalism (MN), the view that science, by virtue of its methods, is limited to studying 'natural' phenomena and cannot consider or evaluate hypotheses that refer to supernatural entities. While they may in fact exist, gods, ghosts, spirits, and extrasensory or psi phenomena are inherently outside the domain of scientific investigation. Recently, Mahner (Sci Educ 3:357-371, ) has taken this position one step further, proposing the more radical view that science presupposes an a priori commitment not just to MN, but also to ontological naturalism (ON), the metaphysical thesis that supernatural entities and phenomena do not exist. Here, we argue that science presupposes neither MN nor ON and that science can indeed investigate supernatural hypotheses via standard methodological approaches used to evaluate any 'non-supernatural' claim. Science, at least ideally, is committed to the pursuit of truth about the nature of reality, whatever it may be, and hence cannot exclude the existence of the supernatural a priori, be it on methodological or metaphysical grounds, without artificially limiting its scope and power. Hypotheses referring to the supernatural or paranormal should be rejected not because they violate alleged a priori methodological or metaphysical presuppositions of the scientific enterprise, but rather because they fail to satisfy basic explanatory criteria, such as explanatory power and parsimony, which are routinely considered when evaluating claims in science and everyday life. Implications of our view for science education are discussed.
ACCESSION #
87609744

 

Related Articles

  • FÍSICA E BIOLOGIA: POSSÍVEIS LIMITES DE DEMARCAÇÃO CONCEITUAL. Araújo, Arthur // Trans/Form/Acao;2006, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p19 

    From the German physicist Erwin Schrödingers text, What is life (1943), the possible limits of conceptual division between physics and biology are analyzed. Is there a limit between physics and biology? Or can biology be reduced to physics? Different views will be analyzed among scientists...

  • Lakatos’s Challenge? Auxiliary Hypotheses and Non-Monotonous Inference. Zenker, Frank // Journal for General Philosophy of Science;2006, Vol. 37 Issue 2, p405 

    Gerhard Schurz [2001, Journal for General Philosophy of Science, 32, 65–107] has proposed to reconstruct auxiliary hypothesis addition, e.g., postulation of Neptune to immunize Newtonian mechanics, with concepts from non-monotonous inference to avoid the retention of false predictions...

  • Calculating and Understanding: Formal Models and Causal Explanations in Science, Common Reasoning and Physics Teaching. Besson, Ugo // Science & Education;Mar2010, Vol. 19 Issue 3, p225 

    This paper presents an analysis of the different types of reasoning and physical explanation used in science, common thought, and physics teaching. It then reflects on the learning difficulties connected with these various approaches, and suggests some possible didactic strategies. Although...

  • KANT Y LOS PRINCIPIOS A PRIORI DE LA CIENCIA NATURAL. PELÁEZ CEDRÉS, ÁLVARO J. // Signos Filosóficos;ene-jun2007, Issue 17, p139 

    This paper considers the kantian statement that the natural science, the same as the mathematics, contain synthetic a priori judgments as principles. However, a comparative study among the principles of both sciences, as well as of the foundations of their constitution, throws the primary result...

  • Science Within the Limits of Truth. Liben, Paul H. // First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion & Public Life;Dec1991, Issue 18, p29 

    Considers two tendencies that pose a serious threat to the continued health of scientific enterprise. Prevalence within the scientific community of naturalistic philosophical beliefs; Tendency on the part of both naturalistic and theistic scientists to impose their respective worldviews onto...

  • The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Barker, Peter // Erkenntnis;Nov2011, Vol. 75 Issue 3, p445 

    For historical epistemology to succeed, it must adopt a defensible set of categories to characterise scientific activity over time. In historically orientated philosophy of science during the twentieth century, the original categories of theory and observation were supplemented or replaced by...

  • NATURALEZA DE LOS RAZONAMIENTOS BASADOS EN MODELOS. Ramírez Figueroa, Alejandro // Praxis Filosófica;ene-jun2010, Issue 30, p7 

    The concept of model-based reasoning, RBM, is today a central topic in the disciplinary fields of logic, philosophy of science and cognitive science. However, its inferential nature remains problematic. In this paper, the aforementioned problem is tackled in two separate stages: first, the...

  • A Computational Model of Lakatos-style Reasoning. Pease, Alison // Philosophy of Mathematics Education Journal;Apr2013, Issue 27, pi 

    Lakatos outlined a theory of mathematical discovery and justification, which suggests ways in which concepts, conjectures and proofs gradually evolve via interaction between mathematicians. Different mathematicians may have different interpretations of a conjecture, examples or counterexamples...

  • The Conservation of Ignorance. Williams, Barry // Australasian Science;Jul2007, Vol. 28 Issue 6, p46 

    The author presents his Theory of Conservation of Ignorance which states that ignorance is a universal phenomenon that will remain constant regardless of the advancement in science. He supports his theory by citing the knowledge gap between parents and younger generation. He argues that parents...

Share

Read the Article

Courtesy of THE LIBRARY OF VIRGINIA

Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics