Naturalisms in Philosophy of Mind



Most contemporary philosophers of mind claim to be in search of a ‘naturalistic’ theory. However, when we look more closely, we find that there are a number of different and even conflicting ideas of what would count as a ‘naturalization’ of the mind. This article attempts to show what various naturalistic philosophies of mind have in common, and also how they differ from one another. Additionally, it explores the differences between naturalistic philosophies of mind and naturalisms found in ethics, epistemology, and philosophy of science. Section 1 introduces a distinction between two types of project that have been styled ‘naturalistic’, which I call philosophical naturalism and empirical naturalism. Sections 2 to 6 canvass different strands of philosophical naturalism concerning the mind, followed by a much briefer discussion of attempts to provide empirical naturalizations of the mind in Section 7. Section 8 concludes the essay with a consideration of the relations between philosophical and empirical naturalism in philosophy of mind, arguing that at least some types of philosophical naturalism are incompatible with empirical naturalism.