Peircean Naturalism

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Date

2013

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Flanagan, Owen

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Abstract

Naturalism faces problems caused by a lack of agreement about whether there is or can be a meaningful and useful conception of naturalism as a general research position. Without a widely agreed upon account of what naturalism in general amounts to there is no clear and definitive way to adjudicate disputes as to what is consistent with naturalism; the absence of such an account also makes it impossible for specific projects in naturalistic inquiry to take guidance from naturalism in general. In the following, I develop a determinate account of naturalism in general, which I think could find acceptance among naturalists because it accounts for many of the features commonly associated with naturalism. To do this, I first lay out the problem to be solved, express its importance, and explain what a solution to the problem would involve. I then make appeal to an account of naturalism developed by Penelope Maddy and use this account to show that the published and unpublished work of Charles Sanders Peirce offers, prima facie, a more determinate account of naturalism than is commonly recognized and that goes beyond the account given by Maddy. With this Peircean account developed, I then measure it against the criteria I develop and conclude that a Pericean account of naturalism does promise to adjudicate various disputes in the naturalism literature and to offer guidance to the development and application of specific projects in naturalistic inquiry.

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Citation

Williams, Robert A. (2013). Peircean Naturalism. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/7217.

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