Naturalism and anti-naturalism in contemporary philosophy of science


The early sixties saw the rise of more an d more schools of thought which came to question the accepted paradigm in the philosophy of science from the 1920’s, i.e. logical positivism. What started as a “ normal” clash of opinions, eventually developed into, as R.F. Baum called it, the “ crisis of the m odern intellect”. No less th an the objectivity o r rationality of scientific knowledge became the issue under discussion. On the one hand Kuhn, Feyerabend, et. al. rejected the positivists’ conception of rationality as being a reduction of the original meaning of human rationality. According to the “ new philosophy of science” rationality has been reduced to logical or methodological computability, thereby neglecting the essential factor of human deliberation and judgement as the essence of human rational behaviour. Logical positivists replied by labelling Kuhn’s new emphasis on subjective factors in the scientific endeavour as “ irrationalistic” and ’’relativistic”.