SAAP Annual Meeting 2013

Papers Proceedings »

Synoptic Pluralism

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Randall Auxier
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
United States

This is a "Discussion Paper" submission. Richard Rorty bequeathed to pragmatic naturalists an anemic and unphilosophical kind of naturalism --forsaking the philosophical question of nature and accepting that nature is whatever the scientists say it is. I think Rorty's critique of the failure of academic philosophy to say anything important about nature in several generations, or to say it to the scientific community and the public, is basically on target, but a more robust naturalism, consistent with pragmatic naturalism, can avoid all of Rorty's criticisms. John Shook's classification of types of American philosophical naturalisms identifies "synoptic pluralism" as the most comprehensive type, defended by such philosophers as Whitehead and Peirce. Shook rightly points out that the ontology of synoptic pluralism needs improvement. I answer his challenge to frame an attractive ontology for this type of naturalism and provide the most robust alternative to Rorty that radical empiricism will allow.


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