Naturalized Epistemology Essay

1046 Words5 Pages
Quine argues in his essay on naturalized epistemology that epistemology is best looked upon as an enterprise in natural science. Quine wants to naturalize epistemology by which he means a reworking of what the term epistemology means. For Quine this means a rejection of traditional epistemology or first philosophy and its replacement with an empirical based scientific epistemology. Quine proposes a reciprocal containment of epistemology and natural science. He famously claims “ Epistemology, or something like it, simply falls into place as a chapter of psychology and hence of natural science. It studies a natural phenomenon, viz., a physical human subject.”[1] Advocates of naturalistic epistemology hold that epistemology is crucially dependent upon empirical results from the empirical sciences.[2] The following essay will examine the theory proposed by Quine in his essay Epistemology Naturalized and also examine such objections that have been suggested against his view. Epistemology can be diivded into two groups, the traditional approach to epistemology that aims to identify knowledge for inferences from our own subjective reasoning about truth, knowledge and justification. Following on from the work of Descartes and others, this approach identifies strategies for the assessment of belief formation and belief revision. This approach aims to identify which approaches successful and which are not. This approach can also be seen in the work of writers such as Mill, Carnap and Goodman.[3] A second approach of traditional epistemology is to provide a characterization of knowledge and show how it differs from true opinion or from error. The second approach to epistemology is to naturalise it. Naturalised epistemology can also be divided into different groups The type of naturalized epistemology that Quine proposes is strong naturalism. He argues that all
Open Document