In the current intellectual climate, naturalism is overwhelmingly considered the philosophically correct framework for nearly all areas of philosophical inquiry. Consensus, however, has yet to be attained as to what is meant by 'naturalism' or even 'nature.' Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro's aim in this compact study is the exposition of the promise and perils of contemporary naturalism, taking into account competing definitions and challenging its almost unquestioned primacy and dogmatic propagation by scientists and scholars alike. Assessing both strict naturalism-nature is all that exists, disclosing itself through the natural sciences-and broader conceptions of the term that allow for an expanded conception of the natural world but sternly resist appeals to forces beyond it (such as a transcendent God), Goetz and Taliaferro question whether the naturalistic rejection of theism is vindicated. Passed off as a sophisticated view of reality, naturalism fails to address the complexity of the world and our experience of it as rational and emotional free agents. Goetz and Taliaferro maintain that the scientific method cannot 'replace or weaken the appeal to God as the transcendent reality that conserves the existence of the cosmos'; rather, it leads to 'highly limited or problematic philosophies of consciousness, the self, agency, and values.' Without a spiritual and rational source, they argue, the physical world can only be an empty shell, void of the very mystery and beauty naturalists hold in such high esteem. 132 pp.
An Eighth Day View:
This inaugural Interventions volume introduces readers to the dominant scientifically oriented worldview called naturalism. Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro examine naturalism philosophically, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. Whereas most other books on naturalism are written for professional philosophers alone, this one is aimed primarily at a college-educated audience interested in learning about this pervasive worldview.