Philosophical naturalism

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Philosophy of science

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Philosophical naturalism is the doctrine that the natural world is all there is.

Most philosophers of science adhere strictly to this view and positively deny that any supernatural or miraculous effects or forces are possible, though a small minority believe that there are other ways of knowing.


[edit] Origins in methodological naturalism

Philosophical naturalism is arguably the logical result of methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism accepts that there is no way to contact, detect, or otherwise empirically observe the supernatural. In consequence methodological naturalists believe the scientific method to be the best way to determine the truth about reality. Because supernatural, intelligent forces, if they exist, are unpredictable and hence unrepeatable naturalists reject the possibility of supernatural or magical intervention in the physical world.

Philosophical naturalists take these beliefs one step further and reject the existence of the supernatural altogether, citing the utter lack of empirical evidence. Because of the absence of scientific evidence backing up religion, most philosophical naturalists are also atheists (or at most deists).

[edit] Opposition by religion

Arrayed against philosophical naturalism are religious schools of thought which argue for the existence of the supernatural alongside the natural. In order to compete with science they have created pseudoscientific theories such as intelligent design which supposedly prove supernatural intervention in natural phenomena. However, they also assert that the supernatural is somehow immune to science. These theories, therefore, work about as well as cargo cults.

[edit] Do not equate with

Although these are related to naturalism, there are differences:

[edit] Materialism

All things are composed of matter and that all emergent phenomena (such as thoughts) are the result of material interactions.

[edit] Physicalism

The only things are those subject to the laws of physics.

[edit] Scientism

All that can be known is what science tells us.

[edit] Nominalism

Abstract objects exist as predicates, not universals (as opposed to Platonism).

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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