Chapter 5 Nature, God, and Scientific Method

In: Idealist Alternatives to Materialist Philosophies of Science

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In Chapter 5, “Nature, God, and Scientific Method,” Edward L. Schoen challenges a strictly idealist, naturalistic, or any other monolithic approach to science. He argues that scientific methods counsel a tentative, rather open-ended pluralist, stance to the history of their development. After surveying the history of philosophy of science from A.J. Ayer to the present, Schoen concludes that there are only three methodological practices which characterize science typically and persistently: 1) the drive to uncover and identify scientific laws; 2) the empirical nature of science, and 3) the methodological constitution of kinds. Even these do not stem from any distinctively metaphysical commitments about the objects that science studies nor, on the subject side, does any of them preclude the possibility of supernatural agency or divine intervention, contrary to what some philosophers of science like E.O. Wilson have maintained.