Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Naturalized Epistemology: What Is At Stake?

Marin Smillov.

The immediate goal of this paper is to defend the most radical thesis of Quine's naturalized epistemology, namely, the thesis that traditional epistemology has reached its end and should be replaced by epistemic naturalism. My defense of the replacement thesis develops as a response to Putnam's article "Why Reasons Can't Be Naturalized." I will demonstrate that Putnam's arguments fall short of refuting Quine's naturalism. The reasons for Putnam's failure run deep.
Putnam is committed to the view that there is universal (immanent and transcendent) human rationality. This view is not only contrary to but also incommensurable with Quine's epistemic naturalism. This is the reason why Putnam's arguments fail to reach their intended target.
There is a general goal to my defense of bold epistemic naturalism. I will argue that Quine's naturalized epistemology sets up a new conceptual and investigative paradigm not only for philosophy but for the humanities as a whole.


Marin Smillov
Visiting Assistant Professor

  • Naturalized Epistemology
  • Human Rationality
Person as Subject
  • Quine, Willard Van Putnam, Hilary

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)