What Is Naturalism That We Should Be Mindful Of It?

William Alston

Lecture Notes

October, 1997

I. A rough paraphrase of what we are saying when we say 'S believes that p.'

S is in a belief state similar to the one which would play the typical causal role if my utterance of that had had a typical causal history. - Stephen Stich

II. The entire knowable universe is composed of natural objects - that is, objects which come into and pass out of existence in consequence of the operation of "natural causes."
A natural cause is a natural object or an episode in the history of a natural object which brings about a change in some other natural object.
A natural process is any change in a natural object or system of natural objects which is due to a natural cause or system of natural causes. - Arthur Danto

III. The physical properties are position in space and time, size, shape, duration, mass velocity, solidity, inertia, electric charge, spin, rigidity, temperature, hardness, and the like. The list is open-ended. It is composed of properties that are the objects of the science of physics. - Keith Campbell

IV. Property P is a physical property if and only if that an object has p presupposes that it has extension. - Jaegwon Kim

V. P is a physical property of individuals = (1) P is an a posteriori property that, under certain conditions, would be a nonrelational property of or a relation among spatiotemporal individuals which are neither living individuals or attached parts of living individuals, and (2) P is not a property or relation that a spatiotemporal individual, which is living or is a part of a living individual, would have only if it or what it is part of were living.- J.W. Cornman

VI. ...we so use the term 'physical property' that the nonlogical terms of these sciences [contemporary physical and biological sciences] stand for physical properties. - R. B. Brandt and J. Kim

For further details, see William Alston's article, "What is Naturalism That We Should be Mindful of It?"

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