Well Said . . . On Naturalism

Strict naturalism, as an ideal scientific philosophy, seeks to include all aspects of reality within a comprehensive and unified perspective that excludes anything that is either conscious, or psychological, or mental in nature.  Thus, not only does it ultimately exclude any teleological explanatory role for purposes with the result that no explanation can ultimately include mention of them (in this sense, strict naturalism countenances only purposeless explanations), but it also excludes or is incompatible with the view that agents make undetermined, free choices.  Strict naturalism is incompatible with libertarian freedom because undetermined free choices are choices that are ultimately explained by the purposes of the agents who make them.  Hence, because strict naturalism excludes ultimate teleological explanations in terms of purposes, it excludes libertarian free will.”

(From Naturalism, Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro, Eerdmans, 2008)

My comment: No purpose and no freedom.  I have to say it’s difficult to see the attraction of strict naturalism.  As Richard Dawkins rightly says, on this view, we simply dance to our DNA.  That strikes me as pretty bleak.

Other opinions?

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2 thoughts on “Well Said . . . On Naturalism

  1. What I find curious about Mr. Dawkins is that he
    became a naturalist at age 15 and never looked
    back. Talk about doctrinaire and maybe a bit close-minded!

    • You’re right. It reminds me of some lyrics from an old Steve Taylor song, “Harder to Believe Than Not To”:

      “Shivering with doubts that were left unattended
      So you toss away the cloak that you should have mended
      Don’t you know by now why the chosen are few?
      It’s harder to believe than not to
      Harder to believe than not to”

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