Is science really what naturalism says it is?

In spite of the relevance of a scientific representation of the world for naturalism, it is surprising that philosophy of science is less involved in the debate on naturalism than expected. Had the viewpoint of philosophy of science been duly
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  1  Is science really what naturalism says it is?    Forthcoming on  Kairos. Journal of Philosophy & Science   (2017) Federico Laudisa  Department of Human Sciences, University of Milan-Bicocca Piazza dell’Ateneo Nuovo 1, 2012 !ilan " #tal$ %ederico&laudisa'unimi&it Abstract   #n site o% the relevance o% a scienti%ic reresentation o% the *orld %or naturalism, it is surrising that hilosoh$ o% science is less involved in the deate on naturalism than e+ected& ad the vie*oint o% hilosoh$ o% science een dul$ considered, naturalism could not have overloo-ed the estalished lesson, according to *hich there is no * recie %or *hat science must or must not e& #n the resent aer # address some imlications o% this lesson %or (some %orms o%) naturalism, arguing that a radicall$ naturalistic outloo- %ails to a$ su%%icient attention to some o% the main lessons that hilosoh$ o% science has taught us concerning the nature o% scienti%ic theories& /ne o% these lessons is that real scienti%ic theories   are %ar more normative than ordinar$ scienti%ic naturalism is read$ to accet, a circumstance that at a minimum is ound to %orce most naturalization strategies to their signi%icance& Keywords  Naturalism Normativit$ uine 3istemolog$ 4cienti%ic 3+lanation 1. Introduction   A commonlace in the deates on naturalism is that there is no single core o% assumtions that  5ointl$ characterize it uni6uel$& aniel Andler, %or instance, remar-ed that 8hilosohers have di%%erent vie*s aout the nature  ,  structure    an scope   o% naturalism, conceived as a ver$ general stance to*ards human -no*ledge and the role la$ed $ the natural sciences9 (Andler 200:, & 2;<)& =aeg*on >im, in a *or- devoted to the American srcins o% naturalism ut it more luntl$ tal-ing o% a 8lethora o% naturalisms9 (>im 200?, & ;<), *hereas in her oo- Secon Philosophy Peneloe !add$ turns ironical $ noting that 8the term @naturalism’ has ac6uired so man$ associations over the $ears that using it tends to invite indignant resonses o% the %orm @ut that  2 can’t e naturalism Naturalism has to e li-e this’9 (!add$ 2007, & 1)& #n general hilosohical terms, *e can ta-e naturalism to e more an attitude than a rigorousl$ de%ined claim, a sort o% (at least) three.dimensional stance concerning resectivel$ ontolog$, eistemolog$ and the scienceBhilosoh$ relationshi& #n its ontological dimension, naturalism accets as ossile true entities o% the *orld onl$ the sort o% things that scienti%ic theories   osit as o5ects o% their in6uir$& #n its eistemological dimension, naturalism holds that the methods emlo$ed $ the scienti%ic theories are the onl$ methods that $ield true -no*ledge& Finall$, as %ar as the scienceBhilosoh$ relationshi is concerned, naturalism denies an$ rivileged role %or a hilosohical concetual anal$sis in the 5usti%ication o% -no*ledge itsel%& #n turn, an eistemic %orm o% naturalism ma$ encomass %urther su.variants, li-e a io.insired vie* o% -no*ledge as a ver$ %act o% nature or those aroaches that ta-e scienti%ic -no*ledge to e a secial instance o% the henomena under investigation $ cognitive science 1 . Putting slight variations to the aove %rame*or- aside, it can e hardl$ deated that naturalism has een the !eit"eist   in the anal$tic hilosoh$ since the second hal% o% the t*entieth centur$& issenters are not asent 2 , ut again =aeg*on >im siml$ descried an actual state o% a%%airs *hen he *rote that 8i% current anal$tic hilosoh$ can e said to have a hilosohical ideolog$, it is, un6uestional$, naturalism& Philosohical naturalism has guided and constrained anal$tic hilosoh$ as its reigning creed %or much o% the t*entieth centur$&9 (>im 200?, & ;<) ? & #n its most in%luent and radical %ormulation, srcinall$ due to C&D&/& uine, naturalism concerned mainl$ the theor$ o% -no*ledge and %ound its e+ression in terms o% *hat has een called replacement    naturalism  (>ornlith 1::<a, Almeder 1::;, Feldman 2012), according to *hich traditional eistemolog$ is to e replace   $ the scienti%ic anal$sis o% emirical rocesses underl$ing the %ormation o% elie%s concerning the natural *orld 4 . /n the ver$ asis o% the e+tent to *hich naturalism relies on a scienti%ic reresentation o% the *orld, ho*ever, it is surrising that 1  4ee %or instance Eiere 1:::, >ovac 2007, handrase-haran, 4&, Nersessian, N&=& 201G& 2  Notale e+amles are such roust anti.naturalists as Alvin Plantinga or !ichael Hae& ?  3ven i% *e overloo- the e+tent o% the divergences et*een the *orshiers o% naturalism and its enemies, it is use%ul to oint out a %actor that turns out to e constitutive, although not al*a$s eas$ to characterize recisel$ in ever$ domain naturalism essentiall$ relies on a model o% -no*ledge that derives straightl$ %rom science and, more generall$, on the role o% aradigm o% -no*ledge that science has een la$ing in the last three centuries& Ihe central osition o% a certain image o% scienti%ic rationalit$ in all variants o% naturalism imlies then a secial attention to a circumstance that the scienti%ic revolution has introduced into Cestern culture a sort o% ne* categor$ " that o% having an e+istence accorin" to science   " that siml$ did not e+ist reviousl$ (4tein 1::?) and that aears to decisivel$ shae the *hole suse6uent hilosohical investigation concerning ontolog$, eistemolog$ and their comle+ relationshis& <  #n the uinean relacement naturalism, eistemolog$ is reduced in rincile to a ver$ eculiar -ind o% @science’, namel$  ehaviorist s$cholog$& Chether the uinean tal- might e re%erring to all -ind o% science is a di%%erent 6uestion (# am grate%ul to a re%eree %or this oint)& For a recent overvie* o% the re.uinean histor$ o% naturalism in eistemolog$, the uinean ro5ect and the *ide arra$ o% reactions to it, see H$sie* 201&  3 the ersective o% the hilosoh$ of science   is much less involved in the anal$sis o% a naturalistic outloo- than e+ected, out*eighed as it is $ the ersectives, sa$, o% eistemolog$ or hilosoh$ o% mind& ad the vie*oint o% hilosoh$ o% science een ta-en more seriousl$ into account *hen discussing the hilosohical %oundations o% naturalism, a asic %act could not have een overloo-ed namel$, that in site o% the naturalism reliance on a scienti%icall$.oriented aradigm o% -no*ledge, one o% the %e* estalished lessons o% the hilosoh$ o% science o% the t*entieth centur$ is that the 6uestion J #hat is science, e$actly%  is %ar %rom settled in astract and rigorous terms& Ihere seems to e no set o% necessar$ and su%%icient conditions that determine the  oundaries o% a  scientific   theor$, as oosed to a non-scientific one and this aears to have relevant imlications %or (scienti%ic) naturalism, imlications that the deate on naturalism does not seem al*a$s to ta-e seriousl$& #n her aove mentioned oo- Secon Philosophy  , %or instance, !add$ is among the %e* *ho recognize this circumstance as a otential di%%icult$ that naturalism might have to %ace in %act !add$ aims to ursue a ne* ro5ect that turns out to e still naturalistic " a ro5ect she 6uali%ies as @4econd Philosoh$’ " ut since 8there is no hard and %ast seci%ication o% *hat @science’ must e, KM there can e no straight%or*ard de%inition o% 4econd Philosoh$ along the lines @trust onl$ the methods o% science’9 (!add$ 2007, & 1)& As a matter o% %act, the claim according to *hich there is no set o% necessar$ and su%%icient conditions through *hich a scienti%ic theor$ is to e uni6uel$ characterized might e ta-en as the   most general lesson that *e learn %rom the overall develoment o% hilosoh$ o% science in the th centur$, although the details o% this claim are not as straight%or*ard to %ormulate as one might hoe and the intellectual rocesses leading to this outcome are comle+& #n this line o% thought, *e can sa%el$ re%er to the hilosohical *or- o% I&4& >uhn and C&D&/& uine as the main sources %or the claim that there is no recie %or *hat science must e %or oth >uhn and uine one o% the critical -e$ oints " i% not the   critical -e$ oint " is the emiricist assumtion concerning the e+istence o% a clear oundar$ et*een *hat counts as emirical and *hat counts as non.emirical *ithin the od$ o% a scienti%ic theor$& /n the ac-ground o% such an assumtion, logical emiricists identi%ied the tas- o% the eistemolog$ o% science as that o% roviding a rational reconstruction o% scienti%ic theories in *hich the logical structure o% the theor$ should have een a rivileged outcome o% the anal$sis it is not surrising that in this enterrise o% a rational reconstruction o% scienti%ic theories @%rom outside’, so to sa$, hilosoh$ *as suosed to la$ a ma5or role& O$ the vie*oint o% such critics o% this stance as >uhn and uine, the sort o% *or- that hilosohical anal$sis *as suosed to er%orm *as normative   in itsel%, since the rational  4 reconstruction o% a scienti%ic theor$ '   turned out to e a 5usti%ication o% ho* '   *as ieally   to e, rather than a de %acto reconstruction o% ho* '   *as in ractice& Cith secial re%erence to uine, his attac- to the theor$Be+erienceQ distinction o% logical emiricists *as there%ore largel$ consistent *ith the anti.normative end o% his version o% naturalism, something that in turn is consistent *ith the naturalists’ denial o% an$ rivileged role %or a hilosohical anal$sis in the  5usti%ication o% scienti%ic theories& Ihere seems to e, ho*ever, a hilosohical tension here& Chat # *ould li-e to argue in the %ollo*ing is that i% a scienti%ic theor$ is %ar %rom eing as easil$ read o%% its oservational asis as logical emiricists hoed, this need not motivate a radicall$ non.normative stance to*ard scienti%ic theories& #% no clear.cut oundar$ e+ists et*een emirical and non.emirical *ithin a scienti%ic theor$, this ma$ *ell ave the *a$ %or the idea that the construction o% a scienti%ic theor$ is also, to a certain e+tent, the outcome o% a series o% eistemic decisions, that in turn artl$ deend on a class o% normative   criteria (5usti%$ing, %or instance, *h$ should *e re%er a theor$ *ith %e*er rimitive notions, *ith an elegant and non.contrived mathematical %ormalism, and so on)& #n this sense, lurring the dividing line et*een emirical and non.emirical in a uinean sirit need not iml$ erasing an$ trace o% normativit$ *ithin scienti%ic theories& #n the resent aer, # *ill tr$ to address some o% these imlications o% the K no-recipe-for-(hat- science-must-)e  M result %or naturalism as a general outloo-& # *ill start in section 2 $ %ocusing on the ver$ signi%icance o% the distinction et*een ontological and eistemic naturalism& # *ill de%end a sort o% concetual riorit$ o% the latter over the %ormer, on the asis o% *hich an eistemic %orm o% naturalism might e ta-en in a *a$ to @emod$’ an ontological %orm o% naturalism, a conclusion that strengthens the idea that in order to characterize *hat naturalism is one must e clear on *hat the nature o%  scientific theories   is& Ihis oint leads to section ?, *here # *ill %ocus on the role o% scienti%ic theories in *hat loo-s as a t$ical move o% scienti%ic naturalism, namel$ the so.called naturalization strateg$& As a matter o% %act, a large art o% resent hilosohical %rame*or-s insired $ scienti%ic naturalism imlicitl$ assume that *hen in the naturalizing strategies *e move %rom ae.naturalized to*ard science, there is a corresonding decrease o% normativit$& Ihis rocess is ta-en e+actl$ as one o% the most desirale and sought.%or aims o% the strategies themselves i% the notion  *   to e naturalized is a highl$ normative one " hence a notion that %or this reason might aear at %irst sight hard to integrate into a scienti%ic vie* o% the *orld " the naturalization treatment is o%ten ta-en to e a sort @de.normativization’ rocess& Part and arcel o% m$ anal$sis *ill e to argue, on the contrar$, that real scienti%ic theories   are %ar more normative than ordinar$ scienti%ic naturalism is read$ to accet, a  5 circumstance that at a minimum is ound to %orce most naturalization strategies to their signi%icance& #n section < # *ill address the uinean roosal according to *hich the admittedl$ irreducile normativit$ *ithin eistemolog$ should e re.cast as a %orm o% technolo"y-of-truth- see+in"   on the asis o% some recent *or-s in the hilosoh$ o% technolog$, # *ill argue that the outcome o% this move in %act neither removes nor neutralize normativit$ *ithin eistemolog$, since the notion o% technolog$ itsel% is ound to have a signi%icantl$ normative dimension& #n section G # *ill argue that a %urther roosal ut %or*ard $ Larr$ Laudan in order to ma-e normativit$ and a naturalistic hilosoh$ o% science comatile does not avoid the aove mentioned tension %inall$, in the last section # *ill dra* some tentative, general conclusions& 2. On the mutual independence of ontological and epistemic naturalism #n the deates on naturalism, there is a customar$ distinction et*een ontolo"ical   naturalism and epistemic   naturalism (see e&g& e aro, !acarthur 200<, & ?.)& #n the %ormer case, ontological naturalism identi%ies nature as and identical to the totalit$ o% realit$& 3ven e%ore the *ell.-no*n 4ellarsian adatation o% Prothagoras’ %ragment " 8in the dimension o% descriing and e+laining the *orld, science is the measure o% all things, o% *hat is that it is, and o% *hat is not that it is not9 (4ellars 1:?, & 17?) " alread$ 3rnst Nagel used to characterize interestingl$ ontological naturalism as %ollo*s #n m$ concetion o% it, at an$ rate, naturalism emraces a generalized account o% the cosmic scheme and o% manRs lace in it, as *ell as a logic o% in6uir$ K&&&MI*o theses seem to me central to naturalism as # conceive it& Ihe %irst is the e+istential and causal rimac$ o% organized matter in the e+ecutive order o% nature& Ihis is the assumtion that the occurrence o% events, 6ualities and rocesses, and the characteristic ehaviors o% various individuals, are contingent on the organization o% satio.temorall$ located odies, *hose internal structures and e+ternal relations determine and limit the aearance and disaearance o% ever$thing that haens& Ihat this is so, is one o% the est.tested conclusions o% e+erience& KM Ihe second ma5or contention o% naturalism is that the mani%est luralit$ and variet$ o% things, o% their 6ualities and their %unctions, are an irreducile %eature o% the cosmos, not a decetive aearance cloa-ing some more homogeneousS ultimate realit$Sor transemirical sustance, and that the se6uential orders in *hich events occur or the mani%old relations o% deendence in *hich things e+ist are contin"ent   connections, not the emodiments o% a %i+ed and uni%ied attern o% logicall$ necessar$ lin-s& (Nagel 1:G, & ;.:, italics in srcinal similar statements can e %ound %or instance in Armstrong 1:;1, & 1<:, Armstrong 1:;?, & ;2, and >im 200?, & :0) /n the ac-ground o% modern science, %ormulations li-e these sound intuitive at %irst sight& Ihere
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