Tuesday, July 12, 2016
I have reviewed The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism
The new issue of Free Inquiry (which should reach subscribers in the next couple of weeks) contains a lengthy book review, by me, of The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism. (Warning, the link will take you to the site but the full review is then behind a paywall.) The book is an important, useful resource, and your local academic library should get a copy. However, as I explain in the review, it is flawed in not offering any defences of philosophical naturalism among its diverse chapters - and in even appearing somewhat hostile to philosophical naturalism. That's not uncommon, of course: many people simply take philosophical naturalism for granted, work out various implications, but make no effort to defend it. Fine, it's perfectly acceptable to take that approach, and some solid chapters in the Companion are just like that. Still, it would have been good to see some defences of one or another form of philosophical naturalism, when the book is well stocked with critics of it. There are, of course, plenty of people (in this book and elsewhere) who are prepared to embrace a merely methodological naturalism as an approach to science. Often, however, they reject philosophical naturalism on weak grounds. Others who do embrace philosophical naturalism are often unwilling to explain why.