Philosophy Traditional Naturalist Claims: The Term Paper

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3).

The naturalist position is further "bolstered" by a fundamental faith in the veracity of sensory inputs and human cognitive processes, a faith that is woefully misplaced. In fact, the naturalist belief in random evolution undermines any belief in the ability of human senses to derive truth about the workings of the universe (Plantinga 2). Those who believe in a supernatural deity often believe that said deity imbued human beings with the ability to acquire and understand knowledge. If this is the case, it is possible for human beings to use their minds to discern the nature of reality. But if instead humans are simply the product of randomly accrued changes through natural selection, then there can be no such guarantee. Our physical senses and cognitive processes wouldn't have developed with reliability in mind, but rather with survivability. The mind or the senses are only important, in the naturalist context, to the degree that they better allow an individual to survive to pass on his/her genes to the next generation (Plantinga par. 3). From this, we can argue that naturalism undermines its own claims about the ability of human reason to generate useful and reliable information about the workings of the universe.

Despite these obvious problems with naturalism, its proponents continue to take up the charge that nothing exists beyond the material world and that all explanations for phenomena can be reduced to mechanistic ones. That naturalist believes that the uniqueness of human beings -- or any object -- can be recognized "while retaining a view of ourselves as entirely natural creatures whose style='color:#000;text-decoration: underline!important;' target='_blank' href='https://www.paperdue.com/topic/behavior-essays'>behavior is in principle explainable using standard scientific methods" (Prado par. 1). The argument from naturalism begins with this supposition and supports itself roughly by laying claim to natural explanations of natural phenomena as proof that there can be no other explanations for no other kind of phenomena.

In the end, naturalism fails as a useful, empirical explanation of the universe because it imagines itself to be somehow above and outside of the influence of wishful thinking. The naturalists, as with deists or most other -ists, begin any argument or explanation from a starting point that is based on their faith in the material nature of the world, mechanical explanations, and the reliability of human senses & cognitive processes. Unfortunately, it is clear that there is no real evidence to support these positions, save evidence that can be circularly applied because it presupposes all of these conditions. We cannot say, of course, that the naturalists are wrong -- then we would fall into the same trap that the naturalists are in. Instead, we can only say that we cannot prove either that the naturalists are correct or incorrect, a fact that undermines their entire claims to "natural-ness."

5. conclusion

Works Cited

Dubray, C.A. "Naturalism." Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. X. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1991. 3 Mar. 2007 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10713a.htm.

Johnson, Phillip E. "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism." Access Research Network. 1990. 3 Mar. 2007 http://www.arn.org/docs/johnson/pjdogma1.htm.

Plantinga, Alvin. "Naturalism Defeated." Calvin College. 1994. 3 Mar. 2007 http://www.calvin.edu/academic/philosophy/virtual_library/articles/plantinga_alvin/naturalism_defeated.pdf.

Popper, Karl. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Prado, Ignacio. "Ionian Enchantment: A Brief History of Scientific Naturalism." Naturalism.org. June 2006. 3 Mar. 2007 http://www.naturalism.org/history/htm.

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Dubray, C.A. "Naturalism." Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. X. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1991. 3 Mar. 2007 http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10713a.htm.

Johnson, Phillip E. "Evolution as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism." Access Research Network. 1990. 3 Mar. 2007 http://www.arn.org/docs/johnson/pjdogma1.htm.

Plantinga, Alvin. "Naturalism Defeated." Calvin College. 1994. 3 Mar. 2007 http://www.calvin.edu/academic/philosophy/virtual_library/articles/plantinga_alvin/naturalism_defeated.pdf.

Popper, Karl. The Logic of Scientific Discovery. New York: Routledge, 2002.

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