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Naturalism and the success of science


Methodological naturalism is usually regarded as compatible with a range of religious commitments on the part of scientific practitioners and it is typically assumed that methodological naturalism does not imply metaphysical naturalism. Against this, it has been argued that the cumulative success of the sciences, conducted in conformity with the principle of methodological naturalism, actually provides compelling evidence for the truth of metaphysical naturalism. In this article I assess the argument for naturalism from the history of science and suggest that it is deficient in a number of ways. There may be reasons for adopting naturalism, but the history of science is not the place to look for them.

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