Epistemology is a branch of psychology that uses sensory stimuli in expounding on human beliefs concerning the world. For the past many years different authors have been trying to develop a “naturalized epistemology”. They came up with different definitions of naturalized epistemology that led to contradictions. The main objective of this paper is to outline what naturalized epistemology is and the reasons why I disregard it.
Quine’s views on the naturalization of epistemology
According to Quine, naturalized epistemology recommends for utilization of scientific study in determining knowledge. Quine argues that naturalized epistemology plays a significant role in explaining the coexisting relationship between output and input of information. In his argument, he neglects the essence of traditional practices in the development of knowledge. He believes that all knowledge is derived from scientific observations and experiments. Quine also recommends for use of psychology in defining knowledge and disregards other methods of an acquaintance of knowledge (Kuhn 1962, p. 87).
Naturalizing epistemology involves the use of scientific concepts in answering epistemological questions that exist in society. It plays a crucial role in providing a broad field of advancement of knowledge. However, strong naturalization may result in the replacement of epistemology with science. Replacement of epistemology with science may also lead to the emergence of descriptive epistemology. On the other hand, weak observance of naturalization in epistemology results in minor changes that will impact the role of epistemology slightly. Weak naturalization of epistemology grants other methods chances of solving problems that scientific research cannot solve.
Naturalization of epistemology involving traditional epistemology
Quine greatly advocated for the naturalization of epistemology. According to him, nothing on earth will be successful without the use of science. He argued that scientific researches and methods contributed immensely towards the advancement of humane knowledge. In his description, Quine contradicted himself; he portrayed the essence of observance of traditions in ensuring the success of epistemology. For instance, in explaining his concept of naturalized epistemology, Quine kept referring to historic science and its contributions towards epistemology. Thus, it is evident that there is no reason for naturalizing epistemology (McDowell 1994, p.63). Quine in his advocacy for the naturalization of epistemology also included the usage of mathematics in solving skeptic problems. His involvement of mathematics in defining epistemology proves that naturalized epistemology cannot without referring to the past, thus, it is not advisable to naturalize epistemology.
Observance of traditional theories
Naturalized epistemology involves the comparison of the natural phenomenon with the observable humane subject. The humane subject carries the responsibility of transacting materials or objects from input to output zones in consideration of the essence of pre-existing theories. The observance of theories in managing the input and output of information paves way for the utilization of traditional methods of acquisition of knowledge. Thus, it is inappropriate to naturalize epistemology.
In naturalizing epistemology, we will be enforced to replace traditional epistemological questions with psychological questions. For instance, we will be forced to stop asking traditional questions such as “why do a person know something?” and start asking questions such as “how do people really find themselves knowing what they know?” The changing of questions may result in misinterpretations and loss of the intended meaning as much as the advancement of knowledge is concerned. Thus, it is very crucial for us to maintain traditional questions that played significant roles towards enhancing the advancement of knowledge.
Challenges of use of science
Naturalizing epistemology requires an emphasis on the usage of science in solving all empirical problems that may be encountered. However, it is evident that science lacks the ability to expound on what belief entails. Science cannot explain the diverse beliefs of the people. Issues concerning beliefs advocate for observance of traditional practices in order to be provided with guidance. Thus, it will be inappropriate to naturalize epistemology at the cost of traditional epistemology.
Philosophy and science have insignificant variations; hence, naturalizing epistemology will have no significance. It will only lead to negligence of traditional epistemology that contributes immensely towards the success of epistemology. Traditional epistemology pays great attention to natural science, a pillar of the current science. In observing natural science, epistemology contributes significantly towards advancing humane knowledge. Some questions asked by traditional epistemologists contribute positively towards the advancement of knowledge theories. Such questions remain unanswered by naturalists’ epistemologists, thus, paving way for the use of traditional practices.
Questions of skepticism and occurrence of the external world recommend for observance of traditional epistemology. Naturalized epistemology proves to lack the ability to confront skeptical questions and provide amicable answers in time. Therefore, it is appropriate for us to maintain traditional epistemology. In solving skeptical questions, traditional epistemology does not require the use of scientific findings. Through it, knowledge can be gained from channels other than scientific methods and researches.
Naturalizing epistemology will result in the usage of psychology in epistemological activities. It will result in dependence on assumptions on matters concerning the earth, hence leading to questioning of the validity of naturalization. Emphasis on the usage of psychology in such matters will result in circulatory reasoning (Lehrer 1990, p.57).
Justice of beliefs
Epistemology also plays a big role in determining the justice of beliefs. Traditional epistemology expounds on the essence of observance of the relationship between our beliefs and justice. It plays the role of answering normative questions. Natural epistemology differs from traditional epistemology in terms of data. Natural epistemology stores data in form of physical stimuli whereas traditional epistemology stores data in conscious form. Consciousness provides guidance and clarification on the availability of existence of a knowledgeable being. Thus, it is vital to maintain traditional epistemology instead of naturalizing epistemology (Stroud 1984, p.99).
It is also evident that not all scientific researchers are justified. It will be inappropriate for epistemology to be naturalized because its naturalization will result in the overuse of unjustified scientific methods in deriving knowledge. Some scientific procedures may also lead to complications in meeting the intended epistemological results hence, leading to the failure of the advancement of knowledge. In addition, diversion into the use of naturalized epistemology will be an indication of the negligence of justification in daily activities. Science has also failed tremendously to justify itself, thus it will be so absurd to naturalize epistemology.
Norms and strategies
The acquaintance of appropriate norms that govern science also poses a great challenge to naturalists. It is difficult for naturalists to come up with norms that will govern scientific activities. The invention of norms will result in a violation of the existing distinction between norms and realities. Foundation strategies responsible for justification are also prone to deterioration. The failures of foundation strategies are a result of the existence of outlined insolubility. Such a failure in advancement in the naturalization of epistemology leads to a loss of trust in the management of epistemology (Lycan 1988, p.77).
Traditional epistemology also contributes immensely towards the advancement of individuals’ knowledge. It provides an ideological environment for utilization. The traditional format of communication has also been changed in order to meet the diverse demands of individuals within a short span of time. The invention of other communication formats such as the use of psychology by naturalists has also contributed to rapid decision-making among users.
The naturalization of epistemology leads to contradictions in terms of decision-making. Naturalists advocate for observance of any available thing as an aid of understanding the scientific events taking place in a given area. The act of using any provided information as justification for the use of naturalized epistemology leads to the cropping of doubt on the accountability of naturalized epistemology.
Naturalized epistemology also does not answer traditional epistemological questions. For instance, science cannot explain why the world maintains its physical shape. In addition, naturalized epistemology lacks the ability to deal with demonic issues. Such difficult questions lead to the utilization of the past theories in coming into agreement on difficult matters.
In conclusion, the naturalization of epistemology will negatively impact the advancement of knowledge. Despite science contributing immensely towards expounding knowledge, it also leads to neglect of traditional epistemology which results in the disregard of crucial issues. Traditional epistemology plays a crucial role in enhancing the advancement of knowledge; it acts as a pillar to all epistemological challenges experienced. It is also evident that naturalized epistemology lacks the potential of solving traditional challenges such as defining and expounding on what individuals’ beliefs entail. In addition, naturalized epistemology experiences a lot of challenges in trying to explain why the earth looks the way it is. These diverse challenging questions lead to acknowledgment of traditional epistemology.
Kuhn, T, 1962, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Lehrer, K., 1990, Theory of Knowledge, Westview, Boulder.
Lycan, W., 1988, “Epistemic value” dans Judgement and Justification, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
McDowell, J., 1994, Mind and World, Harvard University Press, Cambridge.
Stroud, B., 1984, The significance of Philosophical Scepticism, Oxford University Press, Oxford.