Deweyan Naturalism: A Critique of Epistemic Reductionism
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This thesis articulates a critique of scientific naturalism from the perspective of John Dewey. Scientific naturalism can be defined by two explicit, metaphysical commitments, one ontological and one epistemological. Implicit to these commitments is a further commitment concerning the nature of human experience. This understanding of human experience can be described as epistemic reductionism because it reduces the whole of experience and all empiricism to epistemology. Scientific naturalism is the orthodox position for most contemporary, Anglo-American philosophy. Many philosophers within this tradition are dissatisfied with scientific naturalism and attempt to critique scientific naturalism from the perspective of "liberal" naturalism. One major objection from the liberal perspective concerns the ontology and placement of moral qualities: where are moral qualities to be placed in a scientifically naturalistic ontology? However, due to the fact that liberal naturalists share with scientific naturalists a commitment to an epistemically reductionistic understanding of the nature of human experience, liberal naturalism fails to adequately address the placement problem.
Tucker, Richard Thorp (2011). Deweyan Naturalism: A Critique of Epistemic Reductionism. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from