GR9659: Naturalism | N. Nemati

Graduate Seminar
Th 10:10AM-12PM

The successes of the physical sciences in the 19th and 20th century solidified naturalism as the dominant ideology of analytic philosophy. While lacking any precise definition, naturalism broadly takes science to be epistemically and ontologically privileged over other forms of inquiry, guiding and constraining philosophy itself. Today, questions not only concerning ‘what the world is like’ but also philosophical queries into theory of knowledge and meaning, metaphysics, ethics, and philosophy of mind defer to the sciences and the scientific method. But what makes science an epistemically and ontologically privileged enterprise? What relation does science maintain to philosophy? What arguments are there for different kinds of naturalism?

In this course, we will ask these questions, both with a focus on efforts to naturalize the mind and an eye toward the historical context in which these efforts developed. We will explore the relationship between naturalizing psychological properties and physicalism, the relationship between naturalism and representationalism, phenomenological critiques of naturalism, and proposed alternatives to naturalism.

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