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Goetz and Taliaferro make the most rigorous popularly accessible reply yet to the new atheists, as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and their lesser-known confreres have been dubbed. They critique philosophical naturalism, the bedrock of the new atheism, which holds that all phenomena can be accounted for by material physical processes, and also naturalist rejections of mind and the soul. They discriminate between strict and broad naturalisms. Strict naturalism rejects consciousness and so flies in the face of everyday notions of human decision making, motivation, and conceptualization, hence of behavioral ethics. Broad naturalism accepts consciousness, primarily out of lack of present understanding of it, assured that someday what consciousness is will be discovered. Neither naturalism admits teleological or purposive explanations, and strict naturalism tends to dispense with causality. Saving the naturalist response to theism and their counterresponse until the final chapter, Goetz and Taliaferro generally pursue rational analysis to show naturalism’s failure to constitute an adequate account of human action—indeed, of action in general. Though demanding very focused reading, this is a sterling work of popular philosophy. --Ray Olson
What is naturalism? What are the motivations for it ? Why should we accept it?
Goetz and Taliaferro look at these questions in depth in their book on naturalism. Read more
I have just ordered this book but not read it yet. My friend Victor Stenger, author of "The New Atheism, Taking a Stand for Science and Reason," has just written four paragraphs... Read morePublished on December 22, 2009 by Steven Schafersman
This is a wonderful book. Any naturalist who is serious, open-minded, and not mired in naturalist dogma would gain much from a reading. Read morePublished on November 23, 2008 by Amazon Customer
This book purports to describe naturalism, but it touches on it only briefly and rather superficially before getting to its main concern- do souls make any sense? Read morePublished on October 18, 2008 by B. Braun