NATURALISM AND HUMANISM: A WORLDVIEW FOR THE 21ST CENTURY
Journal: Essays in the Philosophy of Humanism
Subject Areas: Philosophy
Naturalism is a worldview that rejects supernatural events and affirms that a complete account of reality can be given by entities and processes that occur in the natural world. It has a political, moral and spiritual dimension compatible with the Humanist Manifesto. In this paper, I present a description of naturalism based on recent developments in physics and biology. In my view, naturalism is based on scientific realism and accepts indeterminism as postulated by quantum mechanics. Because I cannot prove that only physical entities populate the world, I embrace methodological rather than ontological naturalism. I believe that complex systems exhibit behaviors such as emergence and chaos that can only be explained by non-reductive physicalism. We do not know the origin of life or the universe but there are many plausible theories under investigation. The theory of evolution is the best explanation we have for the amazing variety and complexity in the living world. It is unclear how brain events cause mind events; I suspect that mind is an emergent property of neural circuits in the brain. Religious beliefs have a socialevolutionary origin; I am an agnostic who rejects positive atheism and agrees that science may be compatible with Deism, pantheism and some liberal religions.
Author: Guido O. Pérez