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Naturalism: A Critical Analysis (Routledge Studies in Twentieth Century Philosophy) [Hardcover]

William Craig , J.P. Moreland
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 17, 2000 0415235243 978-0415235242
Naturalism provides a rigorous analysis and critique of the major varieties of contemporary philosophical naturalism. The authors advocate the thesis that contemporary naturalism should be abandoned, in light of the serious objections raised against it. Contributors draw on a wide range of topics including: epistemology, the philosophy of science, the philosophy of mind and agency, and natural theology.

Editorial Reviews


'This book provides a good introduction to work by some contemporary American theistic philosophers of religion. Moreover, it gives clear expression to the recent resurgence in polemical Christian philosophy of religion in American academic philosophy' Australian Journal of Philosophy

About the Author

William Lane Craig is Research Professor of Philosophy and J.P. Moreland is Professor of Philosophy, both at Biola University, La Mirado, California.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge (October 17, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415235243
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415235242
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,081,704 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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83 of 94 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a college-level philosophy text in which the words naturalism, etiology, epistemology, ontology and so forth are used without definition, but it is perhaps the most profound book of philosophy in a generation.
The preface would have been better if it had defined such terms for the uninitiated, but reading the text with a dictionary will solve most of these problems. I personally felt that Chapter 2 was writtem in much more of an introductory style than Chapter 1 and should have preceded it for that reason. For these reasons alone, the book gets four stars instead of five. The book itself it excellent.
The book contains 10 chapters, each written by a different author, as follows:
1 - Farewell to philosophical naturalism - Paul Moser & Dave Yandell
2 - Knowledge and Naturalism - Dallas Willard
3 - The incompatibility of naturalism and scientific realism - Robert Koons
4 - Naturalism and the ontological status of properties - J.P. Moreland
5 - Naturalism and material objects - Michael Rea
6 - Naturalism and the mind - Charles Taliaferro
7 - Naturalism and libertarian agency - Stewart Goetz
8 - Naturalism and morality - John Hare
9 - Naturalism and cosmology - William Lane Craig
10- Naturalism and design - William Dembski
In subjecting naturalism -- the rejection of all things supernatural -- to a critical analysis, the authors expose in convincing fashion the complex incompleteness of our current naturalistic thought processes. William Lane Craig's chapter on Naturalism and Cosmology is particularly excellent in this regard and should not be missed by any serious student of physics.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding deconstruction of naturalism November 18, 2013
Most of the greatest theologians have not only been conversant with the philosophical movements current in their time (e.g. Neoplatonism, Aristotelianism), but have been highly articulate expositors and critics of them. However, most theologians today appear singularly uninterested in, if not wholly oblivious to, the reigning philosophical paradigm of naturalism. That is not to say naturalism is not affecting theology, for indeed it is. The work of naturalists like W.V. Quine, Wilfred Sellars and Richard Rorty has had a deep impact on contemporary theology. Every time a theologian argues that the correspondence theory of truth, a priori knowledge, or metaphysical realism is to be rejected, and every time it is argued that the only way to provide an epistemic justification of theologian enquiry is to model it on scientific enquiry, one can expect that arguments originating in a naturalist worldview are nearby. But should it not cause us concern that naturalism, as Sellars summarizes it, is the view that "science is the measure of all things, of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not"? I would suggest that we need an in-depth reflection both on the impact of naturalism on theology, and more basically on naturalism itself as a philosophy. Fortunately this latter task has already been taken up in Naturalism: A Critical Analysis, a rigorous and challenging collection of essays by a number of leading philosophers.

In the preface, the editors William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland define naturalism as including the following beliefs: the spatiotemporal universe of scientific study is all there is, first philosophy is to be rejected, and the universe is a causal continuum that is explained by the atomic theory of matter and evolutionary biology.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Naturalism: Not Quite as "Super" as "Supernaturalism" February 23, 2014
In a 2012 debate entitled The Great Debate: Has Science Refuted Religion, physicist Sean Carroll made a rather bold claim in his opening remarks (at about the 12:30 mark):

"The argument is finished. The debate is over. We've come to a conclusion. Naturalism has won. If you go to any university physics department, listen to the talks they give or the papers they write--go to any biology department, go to any neuroscience department, any philosophy department, people whose professional job it is to explain the world, to come up with explanatory frameworks that match what we see--no one mentions God. There's never an appeal to a supernatural realm by people whose job it is to explain what happens in the world. Everyone knows that the naturalist explanations are the ones that work."

Naturalism: A Critical Analysis edited by William Lane Craig and J.P. Moreland is essentially a direct challenge to Carroll's claim. The book is a collection of essays by academic philosophers in university departments that do not "know that naturalist explanations are the ones that work." They instead level a host of ontological, epistemological, ethical, and theological arguments against the veracity of naturalist explanations. In this review I will attempt to explain what some of those arguments are.

Naturalism Defined

Naturalism is a bit of a slippery thesis so there is no one official version of it; nevertheless, I think Paul K. Moser and David Yandell capture the two major pillars of naturalism in the first essay of the book entitled "Farewell to Philosophical Naturalism.
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