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Philosophy

Anti-Foundationalism
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Available here are philosophical papers and commentary on various topics, all approached from a more or less naturalistic standpoint.  See links on the left for the major content areas.  Click here to go home to Naturalism.Org, here to go to the Center for Naturalism.

See also the Naturalism Philosophy Forum , an online group that discusses the philosophical basis and implications of naturalism.

A sampling of content:

These and other papers and reviews in the Philosophy section are written for the educated lay person with some prior exposure to the issues and arguments involved.  In most of them I have tried to bridge the gap between academic philosophy and popular discourse, so they will likely satisfy neither the professional philosopher nor those looking for simple answers. 

I wish to explore the consequences of naturalism for various aspects of our personal and social life, to see how naturalism might replace theism, dualism and spiritualism in answering the human needs for coherence and meaning.   Naturalism, as a view that might take hold in an open society, also has the potential to change deeply rooted attitudes that underlie social policy.

 Certain themes repeat, but each paper has a central point to make of its own.   They all take the naturalistic metaphysical premise that there exist no spiritual or mental essences that float free of the material universe, and the empiricist epistemological premise that our beliefs are best founded on intersubjective evidence, not the deliverances of uncorroborated experience.  Neither of these premises can be defended as ultimately necessary or correct, a point made in several of the papers. But nevertheless, one must operate from some set of assumptions that are intuitively satisfying and make consistent sense of the world. Seeing that one is forced to make assumptions, while at the same time acknowledging their contingency, sets up an inescapable tension within naturalism as it's presented here. This is both the anti-foundationalist insight and dilemma.

Any comments and criticism of the views expressed in these essays is welcome, although I can't guarantee I will respond promptly.   Any useful and pertinent feedback will be posted on the Replies page. If you quote, paraphrase, borrow or otherwise use material from them in any of your published work, I would appreciate a notification and an appropriate citation. Please address correspondence to twc at naturalism.org.  Thanks, and enjoy!

- Tom Clark

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