Kegan ShawFollow




College of Arts and Sciences


Master of Arts In Philosophical Studies (MA)


Thom Provenzola

Primary Subject Area

Philosophy; Physics, General; Chemistry, General; Biology, General; Religion, General; Religion, Philosophy of


Empiricism, Epistemology, Methodological Naturalism, Naturalism, Naturalized Epistemology, Philosophy of Science


Epistemology | Life Sciences | Philosophy | Philosophy of Science | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


This paper proposes to assess the naturalist project in epistemology with an eye towards exposing the project as deficient for serving as a robust epistemological project. Epistemologists treasure a certain family of questions and burden themselves with a number of specific concerns the most important of which, I think, cannot be answered by the epistemological naturalist. Ignoring these questions, I will argue, essentially amounts to a dismissal of the principle tension that primarily motivates and properly guides epistemological theorizing. This tension is the familiar appearance vs. reality distinction and characterizes what I am calling the classical landmark or boundary-stone for epistemological theorizing. I will defend the claim that a full replacement of the traditional/classical epistemological project by a naturalized epistemology closes epistemology off from making important claims needed in a theory of human knowledge and, for that reason, a full replacement should be resisted. These claims that an epistemology should be expected to make issue from what I call the classical landmark for epistemological inquiry. Naturalist's effectively ignore this landmark and I caution them in the spirit of the proverb to not "remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set (Proverbs 22:28).