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WHAT IS NATURALISM?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 October 2020

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Abstract

Louise Antony explains a variety of naturalisms, and why she doesn't believe in God.

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Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Royal Institute of Philosophy, 2020

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References

Notes

1 Like any of Brian Greene's books (or, if you're lazy like me, one of his TED talks: <https://www.ted.com/speakers/brian_greene>).

2 As Mary Roach explains in her delightful book on the subject, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006).

3 Baker, L. R., Naturalism and the First Person Perspective (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), xviCrossRefGoogle Scholar.

4 I am oversimplifying. Macro-level physics, of course, looks at large objects as well as small ones – indeed objects as large as planets and galaxies. But it only looks at these things in terms of the same kinds of properties as it considers at the micro level – properties like mass and energy.

5 See for example, William Lane Craig: <https://www.reasonablefaith.org/writings/question-answer/human-insignificance > and Paul Copan, ‘The Moral Argument’, in Paul Copan and Chad V. Meister (eds.) Philosophy of Religion: Classic and Contemporary Issues (Oxford: Blackwell, 2008), 127–41.

6 William Lane Craig, Debate with Louise Antony, ‘Opening Statement’, 10 April 2008, University of Massachusetts. Sponsored by the Veritas Forum. Video available at <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wKkbquUDSM>.

7 There is another philosophical position, called idealism, which holds that there is only mind, and no matter, but it would take me too far afield to discuss that.

8 I do not know enough about Native American, East Asian and African religions to say anything about the beliefs of their adherents.

9 Two prominent theist philosophers, Peter van Inwagen and Lynne Rudder Baker, deny that human beings are essentially immaterial souls. They identify themselves as ‘Christian materialists’. But they are both still dualists by my reckoning because they believe that God is an immaterial being.

10 This position is inherent in their work, but both have confirmed to me in personal communications that they deny the existence of anything supernatural.

11 D. J. Benjamin et al., ‘Redefining Statistical Significance’Nature Human Behavior, (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41562-017-0189-z

12 For details, see my ‘Rabbit-Pots and Supernovas’, in Barber, A. (ed.) Epistemology of Language (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), 4768Google Scholar.

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