A Functional Naturalism

Synthese (forthcoming)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
I provide two arguments against value-free naturalism. Both are based on considerations concerning biological teleology. Value-free naturalism is the thesis that both (1) everything is, at least in principle, under the purview of the sciences and (2) all scientific facts are purely non-evaluative. First, I advance a counterexample to any analysis on which natural selection is necessary to biological teleology. This should concern the value-free naturalist, since most value-free analyses of biological teleology appeal to natural selection. My counterexample is unique in that it is likely to actually occur. It concerns the creation of synthetic life. Recent developments in synthetic biology suggest scientists will eventually be able to develop synthetic life. Such life, however, would not have any of its traits naturally selected for. Second, I develop a simple argument that biological teleology is a scientific but value-laden notion. Consequently, value-free naturalism is false. I end with some concluding remarks on the implications for naturalism, the thesis that (1). Naturalism may be salvaged only if we reject (2). (2) is a dogma that unnecessarily constrains our conception of the sciences. Only a naturalism that recognizes value-laden notions as scientifically respectable can be true. Such a naturalism is a functional naturalism.
Reprint years
2018
PhilPapers/Archive ID
NGUAFN
Upload history
Archival date: 2018-10-29
View other versions
Added to PP index
2018-10-29

Total views
189 ( #25,192 of 54,344 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
46 ( #15,036 of 54,344 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.