For Reichenbach, naturalistic scientific philosophy was a well-established form of liberation. We think that his ideas can make a valuable contribution to contemporary debates, and that he presents an interesting case among the other scientifically oriented proponents of his time.
To delve deeper into this topic, we present a case study to show how Reichenbach argued that in both scientific and philosophical discussions assuming their naturalistic continuityit is necessary to move from the request and value of truth to probability. Introduction As the leader of the Berlin Circle of logical empiricism, Hans Reichenbach paid special attention to the practical and theoretical dimensions of the sciences.
Within his own narrative of the meaning of logical empiricism, he repeatedly differentiated himself and his own circle from the one that emerged around Moritz Schlick and later became globally known as the Vienna Circle. In light of the many concrete differences, Reichenbachp. How did they do so without admitting any dogmatically specific philosophical doctrines? Philosophical problems, in other words, do not differ in principle from problems of the positive sciences.
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The strength of this group lies in its common working program and not in a common doctrine—a program which distinguishes it from philosophical sects, and makes possible progress in research. Reichenbach,p.
In Sect. To delve deeper into this topic, in Sect. Finally, in Sect. A Tapestry of naturalisms Naturalism is perhaps one of the broadest umbrella terms in philosophy.
As Kelly James Clarkp. Defined too narrowly, it leaves out wide swaths of human thought and experience; defined too broadly, it includes many things that naturalists hope to exclude. Typically, two basic forms of naturalism can be distinguished.
The first is metaphysical naturalism, an ontological standpoint that claims that only natural entities whatever they might be exist while supernatural ones do status enterprise suisse anti aging.
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As such, metaphysical naturalists often reject the existence of God, angels, souls, ghosts, and similar spooky entities whose admittance to the natural furniture of the world would seem impossible. But even someone who believes only in natural entities might conduct philosophical research by relying on a priori or intuitive means.
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This brings us to a second form of naturalism, namely methodological naturalism. Its adherents think that science provides the most reliable and useful path to knowledge, whose basic empirical and intersubjective method should thus be followed even inside philosophy. In their scientific work, even scientists who otherwise believe in supernatural entities should follow the path of empirical research wherever it may status enterprise suisse anti aging them.
In that sense, methodological naturalism may be compatible with a variety of ontological packages, especially if one admits that ontology has nothing to do with science. In the literature, especially after the work of Quine, one often encounters the idea of what might be termed metaphilosophical naturalism.
This amounts to the idea that there is no external philosophical perspective from which one could explore the truth about the world independently of the sciences in any a priori ways. As a consequence, philosophy is unable to establish the sciences, or to act as a solid foundation on which they could build for example, in the manner of certain interpretations that claim that Kant sought to establish the Newtonian results from a critical-philosophical point of view.
While this continuity idea is one of the most often noted characteristics of naturalism, it is debatable whether we should distinguish it from methodological naturalism. Footnote 1 In the mid-twentieth century, Quine was neither the first nor the only naturalist. While his nod towards John Dewey was quite symbolic Verhaegh,p.
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An edited volume from contains the following manifesto, which can be read as a self-characterization: [Naturalism] carries on the idealistic emphasis that man is united to his world by a logical and social experience. While like the idealists it makes them all amenable to a single intellectual method, it reformulates that method in experimental terms.
Randall,p. It is not a reductivist position: it does not try to reduce the complexity and context-sensitive character of human life and values to some basic mechanical-atomistic-physicalist-or-whatever basis of the natural sciences.
For Nagel and for many others, naturalism did not proclaim any concrete values although a strong preference for democratic ideals is more than evident in naturalist writings ; as a meta-conception of inquiry, it explicitly admitted the significance of values and acknowledged their plurality in the world of social practices.
Naturalism was not an abstract system that could be formalized by any means to strictly deduce further orders and necessary guidance; it was rather a worldview, an attitude that also had social relevance: [C]ontextualistic naturalists confidently anticipate an increased moral enlightenment.
It expresses the convictions of people confident that a bold but disciplined intelligence is still a creative power in the world.
In fact, as the naturalists rejected any strict and artificial separation between thinking and acting which goes back to C.
Footnote 2 Naturalism had many faces, and it continues to be discussed for good reason. While most naturalists agree with the idea that whatever the method of science, it must be followed and cannot be superseded or overwritten by philosophy, it is important to note two things.
First, there is the question of what happens when science requires methods that are disdained or rejected by naturalists, such as intuition, guessing, and a priori theorizing. Footnote 3 Secondly, one might ask what science we are talking about in the first place.
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The various natural, social and human sciences are presumably or at best connected by family resemblance—and by emphasizing one of them, one may arrive at a different form of naturalism, and that specific form might then annex different fields of life for the naturalist. But we rarely find any passages in Quine supporting the notion that the momentous revolution of physics in the twentieth century would dictate that our knowledge-production machinery and concepts should also follow the path of physics.
And there is almost nothing in his works about how history might be utilized in concept formation and how ethical issues are embedded in the social world.
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But besides the social and the physical sciences, many naturalists also utilized biology in their programs. These authors often focus on the capacities and abilities of the mind and how human thinking is determined by biological factors.
In their brand of naturalism, the final explanatory tool was often a certain form and degree of evolution, which is why these biological naturalists refer less and less to the overwhelming achievements of physics or the contextualizing character of the social sciences. Bringing to light all these different versions of naturalism points toward further investigations into the history of the concept and its systematic possibilities. But it is important to note one thing in particular: naturalism, for most of the abovementioned figures, was not just a theoretical doctrine about ontology or the scientific method.
Naturalism was a worldview, supported and launched by the overwhelming success of the sciences in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. And as such, naturalism also included a broader, socio-ethical aspect and commitment. While Quine, the analytic philosopher par excellence, might not fit status enterprise suisse anti aging broader characterization of naturalism entirely, we indeed think that Reichenbach represents a missed opportunity in the history of analytic philosophy for exemplifying naturalism on a grand scale.
This is obvious given that naturalism, as we usually understand it, became fashionable in the United States, and it was often associated, above all, with pragmatist philosophers. After Sidney Hook returned to the United States from his general tour of Europe to consider and study European, especially German, philosophy inhe published a long article about the socio-cultural and intellectual landscape as he experienced it.
Besides his rather negative evaluation of contemporary German philosophy, Hookpp.
The liberation of nature and knowledge: a case study on Hans Reichenbach’s naturalism
The story of how Reichenbach arrived in the United States through Turkey in the late s is a long one Verhaegh, fills in many gaps, also providing information on how Reichenbach moved from his original German context and literature to his new Anglophone one. To the first group belong thinkers who deem the world we live in to be unsatisfactory, insufficient, and imperfect and who thus posit another realm that also includes transcendent beings and values.
He makes great efforts to argue for a certain form of realism to include unobservable and theoretical entities in the naturalist picture of the world, Footnote 5 and he does not accept any ontological categories that point beyond the empirically and intersubjectively confirmed realm of the natural sciences.