Naturalism and the Contingency of the Space of Reasons
Nietzsche’s suggestion that with the emergence and eventual demise of the human intellect, “nothing will have happened”, makes vivid a worry raised by naturalistic accounts of human conceptual capacities. Many naturalistically inclined thinkers still maintain a vestigial loyalty to transcendent notions of rationality or conceptual normativity, to avert the worry that scientific naturalism would self-defeatingly undermine the significance of scientific understanding. The epilogue argues that neither the evolutionary contingency of our conceptually articulated space of reasons nor the historical contingency of scientific understanding undermines the authority or significance of the “scientific image” as re-conceived in the book. Naturalism does not require transcendent conceptions of reason or science, but can account for their normativity from within our biologically and historically evolving way of life.
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