Naturalistic Epistemology

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Naturalism in philosophy has a long time and rich heritage. In the second half of twentieth century, there have been a number of philosophers who called for naturalizing epistemology. In recent years the movement to naturalize epistemology has become increasingly popular. The interest in naturalistic epistemology traces to W.V.Quine’s paper "Epistemology Naturalized" (1969). In this paper, Quine argued for a new approach to epistemological questions, and he made argument for transforming epistemology into a new discipline by making it a part of natural science. According to Quine, Descartes’s view of epistemology as first philosophy was doomed to failure, because it was pursued outside science. Epistemology, as traditionally practiced, is a normative enterprise. It seeks the standards which might be used to justify our beliefs and judgments. Traditional rationalists and empiricists do agree that search of these standards within natural science would be illegitimate; because the object of traditional epistemology is to provide a ground for natural science. But naturalists reject the autonomy of epistemology, and seek continuity between epistemology and natural science. Quine says that I see philosophy not as a priori groundwork for science, but as continuous with science. This paper seeks to achieve the following aims: (1) Determining the different concepts which fall under the heading of naturalistic epistemology. (2) Clarify the arguments provided by naturalistic epistemologists to confirm their theories. (3) Discussing the most important criticisms advanced by philosophers against naturalistic epistemology. (4) Stating our attitude toward naturalistic epistemology through defending the "moderate epistemic naturalism". Since strong naturalistic epistemology, in affirmative usage, amounts to scientism, this paper seeks to answer a general question about the legitimacy of scientism.
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Archival date: 2021-03-18
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