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Articulating the WorldConceptual Understanding and the Scientific Image$
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Joseph Rouse

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226293677

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226293707.001.0001

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Naturalism and the Scientific Image

Naturalism and the Scientific Image

(p.3) One Naturalism and the Scientific Image
Articulating the World

Joseph Rouse

University of Chicago Press

Naturalists have at least three core commitments: refusing appeals to what is supernatural or transcendent to nature; making scientific understanding central to philosophical understanding; and repudiating any “first philosophy” as authoritative over the sciences. This introductory chapter emphasizes that naturalism is a historically developing project, as new scientific work and philosophical criticisms of earlier versions of naturalism revise our understanding of these naturalistic commitments, and how they can be upheld. Naturalism nowadays is more influentially shaped by Sellars’s aspiration to fuse the scientific and manifest images than by Quine’s version of naturalism. This chapter explains how the prospects for a defensible naturalism have been advanced by three important, mutually supportive developments: John Haugeland’s, Robert Brandom’s and John McDowell’s refinements of the manifest image; philosophical and interdisciplinary studies of scientific practice; and recent developments in evolutionary biology that extend and revise the neo-Darwinian “modern synthesis”, especially niche construction. The chapter concludes by previewing the book’s revised account of conceptual understanding and scientific practice, and how it more adequately satisfies naturalists’ core commitments.

Keywords:   naturalism, scientific understanding, Sellars, scientific image, manifest image, John Haugeland, Robert Brandom, John McDowell, scientific practice, evolutionary synthesis

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