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Naturalism

Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. / 2008 / Paperback

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Product Description

This inaugural "Interventions" volume introduces readers to the dominant scientifically oriented worldview called naturalism. Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro examine naturalism philosophically, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. Whereas most other books on naturalism are written for professional philosophers alone, this one is aimed primarily at a college-educated audience interested in learning about this pervasive worldview.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Publication Date: 2008
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0802807682
ISBN-13: 9780802807687
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

This inaugural Interventions volume introduces readers to the dominant scientifically oriented worldview called naturalism. Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro examine naturalism philosophically, evaluating its strengths and weaknesses. Whereas most other books on naturalism are written for professional philosophers alone, this one is aimed primarily at a college-educated audience interested in learning about this pervasive worldview.

Read a related blog post by the authors on EerdWord.

Author Bio

Stewart Goetz is professor of philosophy at UrsinusCollege, Collegeville, Pennsylvania. He has authorednumerous scholarly articles for such publications asFaith and Philosophy, American PhilosophicalQuarterly, and Mind."
Charles Taliaferro is professor of philosophy at St. OlafCollege, Northfield, Minnesota. He is the author or editorof eight books, including Evidence and Faith:Philosophy and Religion since the SeventeenthCentury."

Endorsements

“This compact study makes a significant contribution to the question of whether, in an age of science, reasonable people need to resign themselves to a naturalistic understanding of the world. Is the intellectually respected assumption that ‘nature is all there is’ intellectually coherent? In this ‘intervention’ Goetz and Taliaferro provide a readable, critical response to this important question.” -John F. Haught, Georgetown University

“Demonstrates with succinctness, brilliance, and precision that modern Anglo-Saxon naturalists are not rationalists but . . . are, in fact, the enemies of reason, which can only have any reality if the physical world has a spiritual, rational source.” -John Milbank, University of Nottingham

“More than a few people seem to regard it as a mark of sophistication to hold that nothing exists that transcends the natural order. But, as Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro show in their splendid new book, ‘naturalism’ is anything but a sophisticated view of reality. Under rigorous philosophical scrutiny, it isn’t even a plausible one. . . . Patiently, gently, but in the end decisively, Goetz and Taliaferro demolish the dogmas of naturalism.” -Robert P. George, Princeton University

“The clearest and most penetrating exposition and critique of naturalism anywhere. In accessible, nontechnical language and brevity of style, the authors have managed to identify important versions of naturalism and expose the Achilles’ heel of each. In a day when theologians and Christian leaders feel bullied by scientific naturalism, this book is a must-read.” -J. P. Moreland; Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

“Taliaferro and Goetz have written a brilliant book! These veteran philosophers represent naturalism fairly, both allowing its spokespersons to speak for themselves and accurately interpreting their views. Yet the authors’ criticisms of naturalism and their defense of theism are trenchant and insightful. Superbly done!” -Paul Copan, Palm Beach Atlantic University

Editor Bio

Stewart Goetz is professor of philosophy at Ursinus College, Collegeville, Pennsylvania. He has authored numerous scholarly articles for such publications as Faith and Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, and Mind.

Charles Taliaferro is professor of philosophy at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota. He is the author or editor of eight books, including Evidence and Faith: Philosophy and Religion since the Seventeenth Century.

Series Information

Arising from the Centre of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, "Interventions" is a genuinely interdisciplinary series of mediations of crucial concepts and key figures in contemporary thought.

Editorial Reviews

James K. A. Smith
— Calvin College
"This little gem of a book is a bold intervention in current discussions of naturalism that dominate philosophy and cognitive science. Unlike so many others, it is not just a book written to make theists comfortably smug in the face of naturalist critiques. It is unabashedly directed to naturalists as well and seeks to engage them on their turf and on their terms. It should be required reading not only for theologians who sense an obligation to engage the broader cultural milieu but also for naturalists willing to relinquish dogmatism and actually listen. The book well fulfills its function as a ’guide' — and more."

John F. Haught
— Georgetown University
"This compact study makes a significant contribution to the question of whether, in an age of science, reasonable people need to resign themselves to a naturalistic understanding of the world. Is the intellectually respected assumption that ’nature is all there is' intellectually coherent? In this ’intervention' Goetz and Taliaferro provide a readable, critical response to this important question."

John Milbank
— University of Nottingham
"Demonstrates with succinctness, brilliance, and precision that modern Anglo-Saxon naturalists are not rationalists but . . . are, in fact, the enemies of reason, which can only have any reality if the physical world has a spiritual, rational source."

Robert P. George
— Princeton University
"More than a few people seem to regard it as a mark of sophistication to hold that nothing exists that transcends the natural order. But, as Stewart Goetz and Charles Taliaferro show in their splendid new book, ’naturalism' is anything but a sophisticated view of reality. Under rigorous philosophical scrutiny, it isn't even a plausible one. . . Patiently, gently, but in the end decisively, Goetz and Taliaferro demolish the dogmas of naturalism."

J. P. Moreland
— Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
"The clearest and most penetrating exposition and critique of naturalism anywhere. In accessible, nontechnical language and brevity of style, the authors have managed to identify important versions of naturalism and expose the Achilles' heel of each. In a day when theologians and Christian leaders feel bullied by scientific naturalism, this book is a must-read."

Paul Copan
— Palm Beach Atlantic University
"Taliaferro and Goetz have writte a brilliant book! These veteran philosophers represent naturalism fairly, both allowing its spokespersons to speak for themselves and accurately interpreting their views. Yet the authors' criticisms of naturalism and their defense of theism are trenchant and insightful. Superbly done!"

Booklist
"A sterling work of popular philosophy . . . Goetz and Taliaferro make the most rigorous popularly accessible reply yet to the new atheists, as Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and their lesser-known confreres have been dubbed."

Notre Dame Philosophical Review
"First-rate philosophical argumentation. . . . I would highly recommend the book to philosophy students at all levels. It would be an ideal text for a course in metaphysics or philosophy of mind or even philosophy of religion. For not only is it a very short book, which increases the likelihood that students would actually read it, but it is full of arguments that are rigorous, clear, and free of technical jargon. In addition to being accessible, these arguments provide excellent models for students to imitate in their own philosophical writing. I would also recommend the book to professional philosophers, especially to naturalists. For the book is an excellent reminder that, while naturalism is unquestioned by most philosophers, there remains serious and all too often unanswered opposition to it, and the problems it faces are deep and difficult."

Faith and Philosophy
"Goetz and Taliaferro have managed to explain and assess naturalism in a way that is at once concise, careful, and clear. I know of no other work engaging metaphysical naturalism that matches this one for these virtues. . . . The book is a model of careful philosophical argumentation and worldview assessment. It should appeal to a wide audience that includes professional philosophers, undergraduates and graduate students, seminarians, pastors, and interested laypersons. And it should serve as a fine text for a number of courses, including introduction to philosophy, philosophy of religion, and apologetics."

Mid-America Journal of Theology
"The best brief, yet comprehensive, treatment of naturalism to appear. . . . This book may be expected to enjoy a wide readership. For the minister, it will serve to expose the irrationality of naturalism in its attack on the supernaturalism that is foundational to our faith. For the educated layperson, particularly the scientist, it sets forth the contours of scientism . . . and serves to encourage the believing scientist to remember that what is foundational to science is not of the nature of science."

Reviews in Religion & Theology
"Stewart Goetz . . . and Charles Taliaferro [have] succeeded in presenting in [a] few pages such a complex question which involves all the details concerning our approach to knowledge. Given the contents of their issue, it is suitable for students who have already got a basic learning in this area of investigation. It would also be very good reading for those scientists who believe that nature, being all there is, has got into itself the reasons of its own existence."

Christian Research Journal
"Goetz and Taliaferro are qualified by an impressive record of relevant scholarly publications, but the book is concise and accessible to nonspecialists. . . . This book makes a strong, concise defense of theism and dualism and responds effectively to the best naturalist critics."

The Way
"Goetz and Taliaferro have achieved something quite exceptional. They have managed to establish a link between current philosophy of mind and philosophy of religion, a link made up of intricate arguments that they have made accessible and even enjoyable."
 
Dialog
"A short introduction to a critique of naturalism, one that is clear, concise, and sufficiently provocative to whet the appetite for further inquiry."
 
Religious Studies Review
"[An] excellent introductory volume to the landscape of the debate between naturalists and theists. Well-suited as an introductory text to the question of naturalism, Goetz and Taliaferro’s volume is to be commended for its solid contribution to the Interventions series."
 
Scientific & Medical Network
"This closely argued book considers the promise and perils of contemporary naturalism, taking into account the various definitions both strict and broad. . . . A masterly analysis of the shortcomings of naturalism and indeed of materialism in general."
 
Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith
"Goetz and Taliaferro have produced an admirable book, one that can serve an important purpose. . . . The book is philosophically responsible, yet written in a readable and appealing style which should make it accessible to scientists, theologians, and students on a wide variety of levels."
 

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