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Natural Agents: A Transcendental Argument for Pragmatic Naturalism

Natural Agents: A Transcendental Argument for Pragmatic Naturalism Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 6, No. 1 (June 2009), 15­37 Editions Rodopi © 2009 Carl Sachs I distinguish between two phases of Rorty's naturalism: "nonreductive physicalism" (NRP) and "pragmatic naturalism" (PN). NRP holds that the vocabulary of mental states is irreducible that of physical states, but this irreducibility does not distinguish the mental from other irreducible vocabularies. PN differs by explicitly accepting a naturalistic argument for the transcendental status of the vocabulary of agency. Though I present some reasons for preferring PN over NRP, PN depends on whether `normativity' can be `naturalized'. 1. Introduction A substantial portion of 20th and 21st century Anglophone philosophy concerns the problem of naturalism. By this I mean the philosophical motivations for adopting naturalism, the status and varieties of naturalism, and the debates between naturalists and their critics. The resulting philosophical situation has been described as "the real battle going on today, between reductive naturalism and normatively oriented accounts of rational practice" (Moyar 2008, 141). A resolution of this "battle" requires an inquiry into the prospects for a stable and attractive via media between these extremes. Let us say, then, that a candidate for a via media between reductive naturalism and norm-focused account of http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Pragmatism Brill

Natural Agents: A Transcendental Argument for Pragmatic Naturalism

Contemporary Pragmatism , Volume 6 (1): 15 – Apr 21, 2009

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© Copyright 2009 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
1572-3429
eISSN
1875-8185
DOI
10.1163/18758185-90000103
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Contemporary Pragmatism Vol. 6, No. 1 (June 2009), 15­37 Editions Rodopi © 2009 Carl Sachs I distinguish between two phases of Rorty's naturalism: "nonreductive physicalism" (NRP) and "pragmatic naturalism" (PN). NRP holds that the vocabulary of mental states is irreducible that of physical states, but this irreducibility does not distinguish the mental from other irreducible vocabularies. PN differs by explicitly accepting a naturalistic argument for the transcendental status of the vocabulary of agency. Though I present some reasons for preferring PN over NRP, PN depends on whether `normativity' can be `naturalized'. 1. Introduction A substantial portion of 20th and 21st century Anglophone philosophy concerns the problem of naturalism. By this I mean the philosophical motivations for adopting naturalism, the status and varieties of naturalism, and the debates between naturalists and their critics. The resulting philosophical situation has been described as "the real battle going on today, between reductive naturalism and normatively oriented accounts of rational practice" (Moyar 2008, 141). A resolution of this "battle" requires an inquiry into the prospects for a stable and attractive via media between these extremes. Let us say, then, that a candidate for a via media between reductive naturalism and norm-focused account of

Journal

Contemporary PragmatismBrill

Published: Apr 21, 2009

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