An Anti-Reductionist Argument Based on Spinoza’s Naturalism

Nancy Brenner

Abstract



The paper concentrates on the assumed ‘bottom-up’ structure of in the reductionist
organization of science. I compare the scientific approach of physicalism to that of
Spinoza’s naturalism. I show that the basic difference in these approaches is that
the former excludes a large part of human experience from the conception of nature,
and therefore of science, which according to Spinoza is unacceptable. I conclude that
once Spinoza’s conception of nature is accepted, the universality of the ‘bottom-up’
principle is undermined.

Keywords


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; physicalism; bottom-up principle; unity of nature; unity of science; Cartesian dualism; hierarchy of structures; culture vs nature; evolution; rational thinking; conscious vs innate knowledge

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