Naturalism (philosophy)

Naturalism (philosophy)

Overview
Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 ones) operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know. Followers of naturalism (naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 is a product of these laws and that the goal of science is to discover and publish them systematically.

Note that the term "naturalist" is also used to describe a person involved with the scientific study of (or education about) nature and the natural world (particularly fields of botany and zoology), as distinct from someone holding any specific philosophical position.
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Encyclopedia
Naturalism commonly refers to the philosophical
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 viewpoint that the natural universe and its natural laws and forces (as opposed to supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 ones) operate in the universe, and that nothing exists beyond the natural universe or, if it does, it does not affect the natural universe that we know. Followers of naturalism (naturalists) assert that natural laws are the rules that govern the structure and behavior of the natural universe, that the universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

 is a product of these laws and that the goal of science is to discover and publish them systematically.

Note that the term "naturalist" is also used to describe a person involved with the scientific study of (or education about) nature and the natural world (particularly fields of botany and zoology), as distinct from someone holding any specific philosophical position. In this sense "naturalist" and "ecologist" may often be synonymous.

Philosopher Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a prominent American skeptic and secular humanist. He has been called "the father of secular humanism." He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, having previously also taught at Vassar, Trinity, and Union colleges, and the New School for...

 argues that nature is best accounted for by reference to material principles. These principles include mass
Mass
Mass can be defined as a quantitive measure of the resistance an object has to change in its velocity.In physics, mass commonly refers to any of the following three properties of matter, which have been shown experimentally to be equivalent:...

, energy
Energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

, and other physical and chemical properties accepted by the scientific community
Scientific community
The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions. It is normally divided into "sub-communities" each working on a particular field within science. Objectivity is expected to be achieved by the scientific method...

. Further, this sense of naturalism holds that spirits, deities, and ghosts are not real and that there is no "purpose
Teleology
A teleology is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greek τέλος, telos; root: τελε-, "end, purpose...

" in nature. This sense of naturalism is usually referred to as metaphysical naturalism
Metaphysical naturalism
Metaphysical naturalism, also called ontological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, or just naturalism, is a philosophical worldview and belief system that holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences, i.e., those...

 or philosophical naturalism.

Theists
Theism
Theism, in the broadest sense, is the belief that at least one deity exists.In a more specific sense, theism refers to a doctrine concerning the nature of a monotheistic God and God's relationship to the universe....

 challenge the idea that nature is all there is. They believe in a god (or gods) that created nature. Natural laws have a place in their theology; they describe the effects of so-called secondary causes (see History section, below). But, natural laws do not define nor limit the deity(ies), who is the primary cause.

In the 20th century, W.V. Quine, George Santayana
George Santayana
George Santayana was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States and identified himself as an American. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters...

, and other philosophers argued that the success of naturalism in science meant that scientific methods should also be used in philosophy. Science and philosophy are said to form a continuum
Continuum (theory)
Continuum theories or models explain variation as involving a gradual quantitative transition without abrupt changes or discontinuities. It can be contrasted with 'categorical' models which propose qualitatively different states.-In physics:...

, according to this view.

History


The ideas and assumptions of philosophical naturalism were first seen in the works of the Ionia
Ionia
Ionia is an ancient region of central coastal Anatolia in present-day Turkey, the region nearest İzmir, which was historically Smyrna. It consisted of the northernmost territories of the Ionian League of Greek settlements...

n pre-Socratic philosophers
Pre-Socratic philosophy
Pre-Socratic philosophy is Greek philosophy before Socrates . In Classical antiquity, the Presocratic philosophers were called physiologoi...

. One such was Thales
Thales
Thales of Miletus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Miletus in Asia Minor, and one of the Seven Sages of Greece. Many, most notably Aristotle, regard him as the first philosopher in the Greek tradition...

, considered to be the father of science, as he was the first to give explanations of natural events without the use of supernatural causes. These early philosophers subscribed to principles of empirical investigation that strikingly anticipate naturalism.

The modern emphasis in methodological naturalism primarily originated in the ideas of medieval scholastic
Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

 thinkers during the Renaissance of the 12th century
Renaissance of the 12th century
The Renaissance of the 12th century was a period of many changes at the outset of the High Middle Ages. It included social, political and economic transformations, and an intellectual revitalization of Western Europe with strong philosophical and scientific roots...

:
By the late Middle Ages the search for natural causes had come to typify the work of Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 natural philosophers. Although characteristically leaving the door open for the possibility of direct divine intervention, they frequently expressed contempt for soft-minded contemporaries who invoked miracles rather than searching for natural explanations. The University of Paris cleric Jean Buridan
Jean Buridan
Jean Buridan was a French priest who sowed the seeds of the Copernican revolution in Europe. Although he was one of the most famous and influential philosophers of the late Middle Ages, he is today among the least well known...

 (a. 1295-ca. 1358), described as "perhaps the most brilliant arts master of the Middle Ages," contrasted the philosopher’s search for "appropriate natural causes" with the common folk’s habit of attributing unusual astronomical phenomena to the supernatural. In the fourteenth century the natural philosopher Nicole Oresme (ca. 1320–82), who went on to become a Roman Catholic bishop
Bishop
A bishop is an ordained or consecrated member of the Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox Churches, in the Assyrian Church of the East, in the Independent Catholic Churches, and in the...

, admonished that, in discussing various marvels of nature, "there is no reason to take recourse to the heavens, the last refuge of the weak, or demons, or to our glorious God as if He would produce these effects directly, more so than those effects whose causes we believe are well known to us."

Enthusiasm for the naturalistic study of nature picked up in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as more and more Christians turned their attention to discovering the so-called secondary causes that God employed in operating the world. The Italian Catholic Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei
Galileo Galilei , was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism...

 (1564–1642), one of the foremost promoters of the new philosophy, insisted that nature "never violates the terms of the laws imposed upon her."


During the Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

, a number of philosophers including Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

 and Voltaire
Voltaire
François-Marie Arouet , better known by the pen name Voltaire , was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and for his advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, free trade and separation of church and state...

 outlined the philosophical justifications for removing appeal to supernatural forces from investigation of the natural world. Subsequent scientific revolution
Scientific revolution
The Scientific Revolution is an era associated primarily with the 16th and 17th centuries during which new ideas and knowledge in physics, astronomy, biology, medicine and chemistry transformed medieval and ancient views of nature and laid the foundations for modern science...

s would offer modes of explanation not inherently theistic for biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

, physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, and other natural sciences.

Pierre Simon de Laplace, when asked about the lack of mention of God in his work on celestial mechanics
Celestial mechanics
Celestial mechanics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the motions of celestial objects. The field applies principles of physics, historically classical mechanics, to astronomical objects such as stars and planets to produce ephemeris data. Orbital mechanics is a subfield which focuses on...

, is said to have replied, "I have no need of that hypothesis."

The current usage of the term naturalism "derives from debates in America in the first half of the last century. The self-proclaimed ‘naturalists’ from that period included John Dewey
John Dewey
John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology...

, Ernest Nagel
Ernest Nagel
Ernest Nagel was a Czech-American philosopher of science. Along with Rudolf Carnap, Hans Reichenbach, and Carl Hempel, he is sometimes seen as one of the major figures of the logical positivist movement....

, Sidney Hook
Sidney Hook
Sidney Hook was an American pragmatic philosopher known for his contributions to public debates.A student of John Dewey, Hook continued to examine the philosophy of history, of education, politics, and of ethics. After embracing Marxism in his youth, Hook was known for his criticisms of...

 and Roy Wood Sellars
Roy Wood Sellars
Roy Wood Sellars was an American philosopher of critical realism and religious humanism, and a proponent of emergent evolution. His son was the philosopher Wilfrid Sellars...

." For them nature was the only reality. There was no such thing as 'supernatural'. The scientific method to be used to investigate all reality, including the human spirit.

The term "methodological naturalism" for this approach is much more recent. According to Ronald Numbers
Ronald Numbers
Ronald L. Numbers is an American historian of science. He was awarded the 2008 George Sarton Medal by the History of Science Society for "a lifetime of exceptional scholarly achievement by a distinguished scholar".- Biography :...

, it was coined in 1983 by Paul de Vries, a Wheaton College philosopher. De Vries distinguished between what he called "methodological naturalism," a disciplinary method that says nothing about God's existence, and "metaphysical naturalism," which "denies the existence of a transcendent God." The term "methodological naturalism" had been used in 1937 by Edgar S. Brightman
Edgar S. Brightman
Edgar Sheffield Brightman was a philosopher and Christian theologian in the Methodist tradition, associated with Boston University and liberal theology, and promulgated the philosophy known as Boston personalism....

 in an article in The Philosophical Review as a contrast to "naturalism" in general, but there the idea was not really developed to its more recent distinctions.

In a series of articles and books from 1996 onwards, Robert T. Pennock
Robert T. Pennock
Robert T. Pennock is a philosopher working on the Avida digital organism project at Michigan State University where he has been full professor since 2000. Pennock was a witness in the Kitzmiller v...

 wrote using the term methodological naturalism to clarify that the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 confines itself to natural explanations without assuming the existence or non-existence of the supernatural, and is not based on dogmatic metaphysical naturalism
Metaphysical naturalism
Metaphysical naturalism, also called ontological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, or just naturalism, is a philosophical worldview and belief system that holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences, i.e., those...

 as claimed by creationists
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

 and proponents of intelligent design
Intelligent design
Intelligent design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for...

, in particular Phillip E. Johnson
Phillip E. Johnson
Phillip E. Johnson is a retired UC Berkeley law professor and author. He became a born-again Christian while a tenured professor and is considered the father of the intelligent design movement...

. Pennock's testimony as an expert witness at the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design...

 trial was cited by the Judge in his Memorandum Opinion concluding that "Methodological naturalism is a "ground rule" of science today"

Metaphysical naturalism



Metaphysical naturalism, also called "ontological naturalism" and "philosophical naturalism", is a philosophical worldview and belief system that holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences, i.e., those required to understand our physical environment by mathematical modeling. Methodological naturalism, on the other hand, refers exclusively to the methodology of science, for which metaphysical naturalism provides only one possible ontological foundation.

Metaphysical naturalism holds that all properties related to consciousness
Consciousness
Consciousness is a term that refers to the relationship between the mind and the world with which it interacts. It has been defined as: subjectivity, awareness, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind...

 and the mind
Mind
The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different traditions, ranging from panpsychism and animism to traditional and organized religious views, as well as secular and materialist philosophies. Most agree that minds are constituted by conscious experience and intelligent...

 are reducible to, or supervene upon, nature. Broadly, the corresponding theological perspective is religious naturalism
Religious naturalism
Religious naturalism is an approach to spirituality that is devoid of supernaturalism. The focus is on the religious attributes of the universe/Nature, the understanding of it and our response to it . These provide for the development of an eco-morality...

 or spiritual naturalism. More specifically, metaphysical naturalism rejects the supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 concepts and explanations that are part of many religions.

Methodological naturalism


Methodological naturalism is concerned not with claims about what exists but with methods of learning what is nature. It is strictly the idea that all scientific endeavors—all hypotheses and events—are to be explained and tested by reference to natural causes and events. The genesis of nature, e.g., by an act of God, is not addressed. This second sense of naturalism seeks only to provide a framework within which to conduct the scientific study of the laws of nature. Methodological naturalism is a way of acquiring knowledge. It is a distinct system of thought concerned with a cognitive approach to reality, and is thus a philosophy of knowledge. Studies by sociologist Elaine Ecklund
Elaine Howard Ecklund
Elaine Howard Ecklund is an assistant professor of sociology at Rice University, current director of the program on Religion & Public Life for the Institute for Urban Research, and a Rice Scholar at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy in collaboration with Dr. Kirstin Matthews, where...

 suggest that religious scientists do in fact apply methodological naturalism. They report that their religious beliefs affect the way they think about the implications, often moral, of their work, but not the way they practice science.

"Expert testimony reveals that since the scientific revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries, science has been limited to the search for natural causes to explain natural phenomena.... While supernatural explanations may be important and have merit, they are not part of science." Methodological naturalism is thus "a self-imposed convention of science." It is a "ground rule" that "requires scientists to seek explanations in the world around us based upon what we can observe, test, replicate, and verify."

Robert T. Pennock


Robert T. Pennock contends that as supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 agents and powers "are above and beyond the natural world and its agents and powers" and "are not constrained by natural laws", only logical impossibilities constrain what a supernatural agent could not do, and "If we could apply natural knowledge to understand supernatural powers, then, by definition, they would not be supernatural". As the supernatural is necessarily a mystery to us, it can provide no grounds on which to judge scientific models. "Experimentation requires observation and control of the variables.... But by definition we have no control over supernatural entities or forces." Allowing science to appeal to untestable supernatural powers would make the scientist's task meaningless (Science does not deal with meanings; and the scientist's task is meaningless; the closed system of scientific reasoning cannot be used to define itself) undermining the discipline that allows science to make progress, and "would be as profoundly unsatisfying as the ancient Greek playwright's reliance upon the deus ex machina
Deus ex machina
A deus ex machina is a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.-Linguistic considerations:...

to extract his hero from a difficult predicament."

Naturalism of this sort says nothing about the existence or nonexistence of the supernatural which by this definition is beyond natural testing. Other philosophers of science hold that some supernatural explanations might be testable in principle, but are so unlikely, given past results, that resources should not be wasted exploring them. Either way, their rejection is only a practical matter, so it is possible to be a methodological naturalist and an ontological supernaturalist at the same time. For example, while natural scientists follow methodological naturalism in their scientific work, they may also believe in God (ontological supernaturalism), or they may be metaphysical naturalists
Metaphysical naturalism
Metaphysical naturalism, also called ontological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, or just naturalism, is a philosophical worldview and belief system that holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences, i.e., those...

 and therefore atheists. This position does not preclude knowledge that derives from the study of what is hitherto considered supernatural, but considers that if such a phenomenon can be scientifically examined and explained naturally, it, then, by definition, ceases to be supernatural.

Alvin Plantinga


Contemporary Christian philosopher Alvin Plantinga
Alvin Plantinga
Alvin Carl Plantinga is an American analytic philosopher and the emeritus John A. O'Brien Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is known for his work in philosophy of religion, epistemology, metaphysics, and Christian apologetics...

 has argued that evolutionary naturalism is incoherent. In Science and Theology News, he attacks the conclusions of the Kitzmiller trial
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design...

 and suggests that the term "science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

" denotes any activity that is:
  1. a systematic and disciplined enterprise aimed at finding out truth about our world, and
  2. has significant empirical involvement.

Any activity that meets these conditions counts as science. He concludes "if you exclude the supernatural from science, then if the world or some phenomena within it are supernaturally caused – as most of the world's people believe – you won't be able to reach that truth scientifically."

W. V. Quine



W. V. Quine describes naturalism as the position that there is no higher tribunal for truth than natural science itself. There is no better method than the scientific method for judging the claims of science, and there is neither any need nor any place for a "first philosophy", such as (abstract) metaphysics
Metaphysics
Metaphysics is a branch of philosophy concerned with explaining the fundamental nature of being and the world, although the term is not easily defined. Traditionally, metaphysics attempts to answer two basic questions in the broadest possible terms:...

 or epistemology, that could stand behind and justify science or the scientific method.

Therefore, philosophy should feel free to make use of the findings of scientists in its own pursuit, while also feeling free to offer criticism when those claims are ungrounded, confused, or inconsistent. In this way philosophy becomes "continuous with" science. Naturalism is not a dogmatic belief that the modern view of science is entirely correct. Instead, it simply holds that science is the best way to explore the processes of the universe and that those processes are what modern science is striving to understand. However, this Quinean Replacement Naturalism finds relatively few supporters among philosophers.

Karl Popper


Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

 equated naturalism with inductive
Inductive reasoning
Inductive reasoning, also known as induction or inductive logic, is a kind of reasoning that constructs or evaluates propositions that are abstractions of observations. It is commonly construed as a form of reasoning that makes generalizations based on individual instances...

 theory of science. He rejected it based on his general critique of induction (see problem of induction
Problem of induction
The problem of induction is the philosophical question of whether inductive reasoning leads to knowledge. That is, what is the justification for either:...

), yet acknowledged its utility as means for inventing conjectures.

Popper instead proposed that science should adopt a methodology based on falsifiability
Falsifiability
Falsifiability or refutability of an assertion, hypothesis or theory is the logical possibility that it can be contradicted by an observation or the outcome of a physical experiment...

 for demarcation
Demarcation problem
The demarcation problem in the philosophy of science is about how and where to draw the lines around science. The boundaries are commonly drawn between science and non-science, between science and pseudoscience, between science and philosophy and between science and religion...

, because no number of experiments can ever prove a theory, but a single experiment can contradict one. Popper holds that empirical theories are characterized by falsifiability.

See also



  • American Atheists
    American Atheists
    American Atheists is an organization in the United States dedicated to defending the civil liberties of atheists and advocating for the complete separation of church and state. It provides speakers for colleges, universities, clubs and the news media. It also publishes books and the monthly...

  • Bonum sane
    Bonum sane
    Bonum sane was a motu proprio on Saint Joseph written by Pope Benedict XV and delivered on July 25, 1920. The pope warned against world government:...

  • Brights movement
    Brights movement
    The Brights movement is a social movement that aims to promote public understanding and acknowledgment of the naturalistic worldview, including equal civil rights and acceptance for people who hold a naturalistic worldview. It was co-founded by Paul Geisert and Mynga Futrell in 2003...

  • Empiricism
    Empiricism
    Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...


  • George Santayana
    George Santayana
    George Santayana was a philosopher, essayist, poet, and novelist. A lifelong Spanish citizen, Santayana was raised and educated in the United States and identified himself as an American. He wrote in English and is generally considered an American man of letters...

  • Internet Infidels
    Internet Infidels
    Internet Infidels, Inc. is a Colorado Springs, Colorado-based nonprofit educational organization founded in 1995 by Jeffery Jay Lowder and Brett Lemoine. Its mission is to utilize the Internet to promote the view that supernatural forces or entities do not exist...

  • Materialism
    Materialism
    In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance...

  • Metaphysical naturalism
    Metaphysical naturalism
    Metaphysical naturalism, also called ontological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, or just naturalism, is a philosophical worldview and belief system that holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences, i.e., those...


  • Naturalism (literature)
    Naturalism (literature)
    Naturalism was a literary movement taking place from the 1880s to 1940s that used detailed realism to suggest that social conditions, heredity, and environment had inescapable force in shaping human character...

  • Naturalistic pantheism
    Naturalistic pantheism
    Naturalistic pantheism is a naturalistic form of pantheism that encompasses feelings of reverence and belonging towards nature and the wider universe, but is realist and embraces rationalism and the scientific method...

  • Physicalism
    Physicalism
    Physicalism is a philosophical position holding that everything which exists is no more extensive than its physical properties; that is, that there are no kinds of things other than physical things...

  • Physical ontology

  • Positivism
    Positivism
    Positivism is a a view of scientific methods and a philosophical approach, theory, or system based on the view that, in the social as well as natural sciences, sensory experiences and their logical and mathematical treatment are together the exclusive source of all worthwhile information....

  • Religious Naturalism
    Religious naturalism
    Religious naturalism is an approach to spirituality that is devoid of supernaturalism. The focus is on the religious attributes of the universe/Nature, the understanding of it and our response to it . These provide for the development of an eco-morality...

  • Sociological naturalism
    Sociological naturalism
    Sociological naturalism is a theory that states that the natural world and social world are roughly identical and governed by similar principles...

  • Supernaturalism


Further reading

  • Mario De Caro and David Macarthur (eds) Naturalism in Question. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2004.
  • Mario De Caro and David Macarthur (eds) Naturalism and Normativity. New York: Columbia University Press, 2010.
  • Friedrich Albert Lange, The History of Materialism, London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co Ltd, 1925, ISBN 0-415-22525-6
  • David Macarthur, “Quinean Naturalism in Question,” Philo. vol 11, no. 1 (2008).

Supportive


Neutral

  • The Craig-Taylor Debate: Is The Basis Of Morality Natural Or Supernatural? William Lane Craig and Richard Taylor October 1993, Union College (Schenectady, New York)
  • Naturalism Jon Jacobs, The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Critical