The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism

Russell Blackford

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The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism,
edited by Kelly James Clark (Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016, ISBN 978-1-118-65760-7) 534 pp. Hardcover, $195.


Philosophical naturalism—the idea that there are no supernatural entities, events, places, properties, forces, methods of obtaining knowledge, methods of achieving our desires, and so on—is undoubtedly the majority view among philosophers in the English-speaking world. Philosophical naturalism is, however, difficult to define precisely, since it’s hard to pin down the concept of the supernatural in any precise way. Furthermore, the back-cover blurb of The Blackwell Companion to Naturalism, edited by Kelly James Clark, is correct in stating that “naturalism is more often assumed than defended." The blurb continues by promising that the Companion “offers a systematic introduction" to the topic, one “that defines, discusses, and defends philosophical naturalism." For better or worse, though, this turns out not to be true.

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