History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Naturalism and transcendental idealism

December 30th, 2011 · No Comments

Flanagan’s book on buddhism, cited in the previous post, throws around the term ‘naturalism’ as if its meaning were transparent, and the private property of those trained in scientism. The reality is that the boundaries of nature are incoherently defined, making the demarcation with the supernatural confused. The point should be obvious. The mind should by all accounts be a part of nature. But its study provokes those who see ‘supernatural’ elements there to apply reductionist neuroscience to the elimination of the real meaning of mind. And so it goes on and on. The preconceived limits of naturalism are assumed in advance, and anything that fails to conform gets ostrich treatment.
The work of Kant, and then Shopenhauer pioneered something more intelligent: the unfortunately named ‘transcendental idealism’ whose core can reconcile the usually false divisions of nature and supernature. In any case, that branch of philosophy is needed at the point that scientists attempt to eliminate consciousness, will, and values from the sciences they construct.

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