Barbara Forrestの方法論的自然主義


I shall use "methodological naturalism" and "philosophical naturalism" to mean what Paul Kurtz defines them to mean in the first and second senses, respectively:

私は「方法論的自然主義」と「哲学的自然主義」をPaul Kurtzが定義した、第1および第2の意味を意味する用語として使う。

First, naturalism is committed to a methodological principle within the context of scientific inquiry; i.e., all hypotheses and events are to be explained and tested by reference to natural causes and events. To introduce a supernatural or transcendental cause within science is to depart from naturalistic explanations. On this ground, to invoke an intelligent designer or creator is inadmissible....


There is a second meaning of naturalism, which is as a generalized description of the universe. According to the naturalists, nature is best accounted for by reference to material principles, i.e., by mass and energy and physical-chemical properties as encountered in diverse contexts of inquiry. This is a non-reductive naturalism, for although nature is physical-chemical at root, we need to deal with natural processes on various levels of observation and complexity: electrons and molecules, cells and organisms, flowers and trees, psychological cognition and perception, social institutions, and culture....[4]


Methodological naturalism and philosophical naturalism are distinguished by the fact that methodological naturalism is an epistemology as well as a procedural protocol, while philosophical naturalism is a metaphysical position.



Since methodological and philosophical naturalism are founded upon the methods and findings, respectively, of modern science, philosophical naturalism is bound to take into account the views of scientists. As Hilary Kornblith asserts, "Philosophers must be ... modest ... and attempt to construct philosophical theories which are scientifically well informed."[7]

方法論的自然主義と哲学的自然主義は、それぞれ近代科学の方法および発見に基づいている。哲学的自然主義は科学者の見方を考慮するという形で限定されている。Hilary Kornblithは「哲学者は、穏健かつ、科学的知識を十分に取り入れて哲学理論を構築することを試みるべきだ」と主張している。

Arthur Strahler, a geologist who has taken particular interest in the claims of supernaturalists to be able to supersede naturalistic explanations of the world, points out the essentiality of naturalism to science:

世界の自然主義的説明に取って代われるのだという超自然主義者の主張に特に興味を持つ地質学者Arthur Strahlerは、科学における自然主義の不可欠さを指摘する:

The naturalistic view is that the particular universe we observe came into existence and has operated through all time and in all its parts without the impetus or guidance of any supernatural agency. The naturalistic view is espoused by science as its fundamental assumption."[8]


Clearly, the first statement refers to philosophical naturalism. Strahler's point in the second statement, however, is that science must operate as though this is true. So philosophical naturalism serves minimally as a regulative, or methodological, principle in science, for the following reasons given by Strahler:


[S]upernatural forces, if they can be said to exist, cannot be observed, measured, or recorded by the procedures of science--that's simply what the word "supernatural" means. There can be no limit to the kinds and shapes of supernatural forces and forms the human mind is capable of conjuring up "from nowhere." Scientists therefore have no alternative but to ignore the claims of the existence of supernatural forces and causes. This exclusion is a basic position that must be stoutly adhered to by scientists or their entire system of evaluating and processing information will collapse.... To find a reputable scientist proposing a theory of supernatural force is disturbing to the community of scientists. If the realm of matter and energy with which scientists work is being influenced or guided by a supernatural force, science will be incapable of explaining the information it has collected; it will be unable to make predictions about what will happen in the future, and its explanations of what has happened in the past may be inadequate or incomplete.[9]


This is clearly a methodological objection to supernaturalism on Strahler's part. Introducing supernatural explanations into science would destroy its explanatory force since it would be required to incorporate as an operational principle the premise that literally anything which is logically possible can become an actuality, despite any and all scientific laws; the stability of science would consequently be destroyed. While methodological naturalism is a procedural necessity for science in its study of the natural world, it is also the rule for philosophical naturalism since the naturalist world view is constrained--and thereby stabilized--by methodological naturalism.


[4] Paul Kurtz, "Darwin Re-Crucified: Why Are So Many Afraid of Naturalism?" Free Inquiry (Spring 1998), 17. Kurtz also defines a third, ethical sense of naturalism, which falls outside the concern of this paper.

[7] Hilary Kornblith, "Naturalism: Both Metaphysical and Epistemological," 50.

[8] Arthur N. Strahler, Understanding Science: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues (Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1992), 3.

[9] Ibid., 13-15.