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World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism

Michael C. Rea

Oxford University Press (trade paperback, 245 pages), 2007

Item# B126
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Alvin Plantinga has been crying out in the philosophical wilderness for decades about the short comings of philosophical naturalism, the cornerstone of Darwinian evolution. The wilderness just got a little less lonely with the recent publication of World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism by his Notre Dame colleague, Michael C. Rea. Philosophical naturalism has dominated the Western academy for well over a century. However, there is an important sense in which naturalism's status as orthodoxy is without rational foundation. Furthermore, the costs of embracing it are surprisingly high. The goal of this book is to defend these two claims, with special attention to the second. The first part of the book aims to provide a fair and historically informed characterization of naturalism. The second part argues for the striking thesis that naturalists are committed to rejecting realism about material objects, materialism, and perhaps realism about other minds. The book concludes with an examination of two alternative research program's intuitionism and supernaturalism and argues that, under certain circumstances, intuitionism is self-defeating. Those who think the Darwin vs. Design debate is all about the scientific evidence, or about science vs. religion, will be surprised to find out, that the issue goes much deeper into the world of philosophy. According to Professor Rea philosophic naturalism, which many take for granted in the world of modern science, stands on shaky ground.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

2 Pillars of the Tradition
3 Naturalism Characterized

Part II Ontology
4 The Discovery Problem
5 Proper Function
6 Pragmatic Arguments
7 What Price Antirealism?

Part III Alternatives
8 Intuitionism
9 Supernaturalism

About the Author

Michael C. Rea is a Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame.

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