American Philosophic Naturalism

This distinctively American philosophical movement from the early 20th century comprised a rather diverse collection of positions ranging from that of George Santayana to that of John Dewey. Still other versions of American Naturalism include the views of Morris R. Cohen and Roy Wood Sellars. There are, however, some common attitudes that ran through the different versions of American Naturalism. These include: 1) a rejection of the supernatural or transcendental; 2) realism and anti-reductionism; 3) a belief in the scientific method (broadly construed!) as the only sound means of acquiring knowledge of the world; 4) a rejection of the dualism of mind and nature that had been a central theme of modern philosophy. This mind-nature dualism was seen as the source of many of the other problematic dualisms postulated in modern philosophy (appearance-reality, fact-value, etc.), so in attempting to reintegrate mind into nature, American Naturalists typically set themselves against all dualisms. However, the realist and anti-reductionist attitudes of the American Naturalists generally kept them away from eliminativist analyses of one side or the other of these offending dualisms in their attempts to dissolve them.

Examples of or Books on American Naturalism

Hook, Sidney. The Quest for Being. New York: Columbia University Press, 1961.

Krikorian, Y.H. (ed.) Naturalism and the Human Spirit. New York: Columbia University Press, 1944.

Lamprecht, Sterling P. The Metaphysics of Naturalism. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, Inc., 1967.

Ryder, John (ed.). American Philosophic Naturalism in the 20th Century. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 1994.

Shea, William M. The Naturalists and the Supernatural. Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1984.


Woodbridge's Realistic Naturalism

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