Institutt for filosofi og førstesemesterstudier


Gjesteforelesning med John Atkins: "Converging on Quietism"

Dr. John Atkins fra University of Queensland holder gjesteforelesning der nøkkelord er: "Convergence, Metaphysical Realism, Naturalism, Quietism, Scepticism, Scientism, Wittgenstein"

A fundamental impasse between realists and their many opponents has driven metaphysical discussion for over a century. It had to do with the nature of ‘reference’. All knowledge claims come in the form of a statement and philosophers have long been curious as to how these might denote, track, or map on to, the world. This creates a pressing need: how to evaluate statements against the ‘states of affairs’ that they purport to describe. Embedded in this perennial debate is a further assumption, often unwittingly appended by disputants and more insidious in nature. It captures my present interest: namely, that the only legitimate metaphysical claims must be couched in the methods and theories of contemporary science. This belief, sometimes referred to as ‘naturalism’,[i] is so widely held in Australian philosophy that it is rendered almost immune to attack. Its de facto is scientific realism and its close, though less highly regarded, relative is ‘scientism’. I argue this triumvirate of ideologies ___ naturalism, scientism, and metaphysical realism ___ is born from misunderstanding the nature of reference and yet still manages to underwrite a large portion of the contemporary western Weltbild. All are ripe for challenge.


[i]     There are several varieties of ‘naturalism’. The view mentioned is probably the dominant use. Strawson’s 1985 Columbia lectures outline other varieties, some of which may be less toxic. See his Scepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties (reference)