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By Frederick A. Olafson

Naturalism and the Human situation is a compelling account of why naturalism, or the 'scientific world-view' can't supply an entire account of who and what we're as human beings.Drawing on resources together with Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl and Sartre, Olafson exposes the bounds of naturalism and stresses the significance of great philosophical research of human nature.

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Naturalism and the Human Condition: Against Scientism

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Extra resources for Naturalism and the Human Condition: Against Scientism

Sample text

It must, therefore, be something that the body does or something that occurs in it. “Body” here is to be understood as denoting a physical object of a certain kind with the properties that are recognized by the natural sciences. The relations in which this object stands to other objects are spatio-temporal and causal. Perception has to be understood as an event caused by a physical stimulus that impinges on the sense organs of the human body and thereby initiates a process in the central nervous system and the brain that eventually issues in overt bodily behavior.

Even so, the day of reckoning eventually arrived. It came when the very strangeness of sense data that was supposed to enable them to function as the grounds of their own phenomenal status led to their being shown the door. It is a remarkable fact that, in the virtuous enthusiasm that accompanied their departure, no one apparently noticed the gap it created or felt the need to make some other provision for dealing with the fact that something has to be given. It was as though the philosophers who dismissed them were so heavily committed to the idea that the fact of givenness can be accounted for only by postulating some specially designed set of objects, that the fact of givenness itself as something’s being there for someone was altogether missed.

The priority assigned to language in contemporary philosophy lends itself admirably, it seems, to many very different strategies of argument; and it is capable of turning even apparently unassimilable data into facts that are at least compatible with almost any purposes. Even so, because perception at least seems to confront us with a world that theory did not create, it offers a resistance to the sovereignty of theory that is not really welcome. II The tendencies just described play a considerable role in the way perception has traditionally been conceived in philosophy and psychology.

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