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Naturalism Logicized Kevin T. Kelly

Summary: Naturalism Logicized
Kevin T. Kelly
Department of Philosophy
Carnegie Mellon University
September 24, 2001
1 Introduction
The approach to scientific methodology developed in my recent book The Logic of Reliable
Inquiry (LRI) shares many general features with that summarized in Larry Laudan's
concurrently published collection of papers Beyond Positivism and Relativism (BPR).
Nonetheless, this fact might not be apparent, as my own work emphasizes mathematical
theorems, whereas Laudan's draws primarily upon historiography. It is, therefore, of some
interest to discuss the extent of the agreement and the significance of the differences. More
generally, the discussion will (I) provide a logical analysis of the instrumental significance
of empirical meta-methodology and (II) redefine the role of logic in a post-positivistic,
naturalized approach to epistemology and scientific method.
2 Normative Naturalism
First, some important points of agreement. (1) We both view methodological principles
as hypothetical imperatives (i.e., methods are recommended as means to an end) (BPR
pp. 132-33, LRI p. 3). (2) We both identify an empirical component in these hypothet-
ical imperatives (BPR p. 133, LRI p. 5). (3) We agree that hypothetically normative


Source: Andrews, Peter B. - Department of Mathematical Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University


Collections: Mathematics