How Scientific Practices Matter
Reclaiming Philosophical Naturalism
Rouse begins with a detailed critique of modern thought on naturalism, from Neurath and Heidegger to Charles Taylor, Thomas Kuhn, and W. V. O. Quine. He identifies two constraints central to a philosophically robust naturalism: it must impose no arbitrarily philosophical restrictions on science, and it must shun even the most subtle appeals to mysterious or supernatural forces. Thus a naturalistic approach requires philosophers to show that their preferred conception of nature is what scientific inquiry discloses, and that their conception of scientific understanding is itself intelligible as part of the natural world. Finally, Rouse draws on feminist science studies and other recent work on causality and discourse to demonstrate the crucial role that closer attention to scientific practice can play in reclaiming naturalism.
A bold and ambitious book, How Scientific Practices Matter seeks to provide a viable—yet nontraditional—defense of a naturalistic conception of philosophy and science. Its daring proposals will spark much discussion and debate among philosophers, historians, and sociologists of science.