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The Liberation of Nature and Knowledge - A Case Study on Hans Reichenbach's Naturalism

Kocsis, László and Tuboly, Adam Tamas (2021) The Liberation of Nature and Knowledge - A Case Study on Hans Reichenbach's Naturalism. [Preprint]

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Our main goal in this paper is to present and scrutinize Reichenbach’s own naturalism in our contemporary context, with special attention to competing versions of the concept. By exploring the idea of Reichenbach’s naturalism, we will argue that he defended a liberating, therapeutic form of naturalism, meaning that he took scientific philosophy (or philosophy of nature, Naturphilosophie) to be a possible cure for bad old habits and traditional ways of philosophy. For Reichenbach, naturalistic scientific philosophy was a well-established form of liberation. We do not intend to suggest that Reichenbach acted as an inventor of naturalism; nonetheless, invoking the term and the idea of ‘naturalism’ is more than a simple rhetorical strategy for rehabilitating Reichenbach as a forerunner of this field. We think that his ideas can make a valuable contribution to contemporary debates, and that he presents an interesting case among the other scientifically oriented proponents of his time. After presenting a short reconstruction of the meaning of naturalism – or, more appropriately, naturalisms – in order to be able to correctly situate Reichenbach within his own as well as a systematic context, we discuss Reichenbach’s naturalism against the background of his scientific philosophy, his views on the relation of common-sense knowledge to science, and his efforts at popularization. To delve deeper into this topic, we present a case study to show how Reichenbach argued that in both scientific and philosophical discussions (assuming their naturalistic continuity), it is necessary to move from the request and value of truth to probability. And, finally, we argue that the liberation of knowledge and nature was a socio-political program for Reichenbach, who talked about his own scientific philosophy as “a crusade.” By emphasizing this aspect of Reichenbach’s naturalism, we may be in a better position to situate him in the history of analytic philosophy in general, and in the yet-to-be-written narrative of the naturalistic movement in particular.

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Item Type: Preprint
Kocsis, Lászlókocsis.laszlo@gmail.com0000-0003-3147-2281
Tuboly, Adam
Keywords: Naturalism, scientific philosophy, scientific epistemology, common sense, truth, probability
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Depositing User: László Kocsis
Date Deposited: 21 May 2021 02:55
Last Modified: 21 May 2021 02:55
Item ID: 19065
Subjects: General Issues > History of Philosophy of Science
Date: 2021

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