Philosophical Naturalism and Methodological Naturalism: Strange Bedfellows?

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This paper argues that philosophical naturalists ought to reject methodological naturalism in science. When linked to methodological naturalism, philosophical naturalism moves toward a kind of epistemic fundamentalism. Joined with methodological naturalism, philosophical naturalism can never be scientifically disconfirmed but will always be confirmed—no matter what the empirical evidence—whereas ‘God hypotheses,’ a chief rival, can never be scientifically confirmed but can be pragmatically disconfirmed—again, regardless of the evidence. This essay will instead recommend that philosophical naturalists adopt a two-tier conception of science: in private they should retain methodological naturalism but in the public square they should adopt a pluralistic conception of science that allows for the genuine confirmation of philosophical naturalism and genuine disconfirmation of God hypotheses.


Keywords: Philosophical Naturalism, Methodological Naturalism, Science, God Hypothesis
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Stephen Dilley

Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy, St Edward's University
Austin, Texas, USA

Stephen C. Dilley is an assistant professor of philosophy at St Edward's University in Austin, Texas. His areas of interest are philosophy of science and philosophy of religion.

Ref: T08P0267