A Science-Based Critique of Epistemological Naturalism in Quine’s Tradition

  • Reto Gubelmann

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Reto Gubelmann
    Pages 1-19
  3. Reto Gubelmann
    Pages 151-181
  4. Reto Gubelmann
    Pages 273-282
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 283-286

About this book


At the intersection of epistemology, metaphilosophy, and philosophy of science, this exciting new book examines the epistemic limits of empirical science. It makes a unique contribution to research on epistemological naturalism in Quine’s tradition by criticizing the position based on first-order data from empirical psychology and the history of natural science. This way, it meets the naturalist on their own ground not only regarding subject matter, but also regarding their epistemic methods. The book explores the works of a variety of philosophers in the field, including W. V. Quine, Penelope Maddy, Tyler Burge, Stathis Psillos and Howard Sankey.

By carefully considering experimental results from behaviourism as well as developmental and perceptual psychology, Gubelmann finds that none of these disciplines can furnish the epistemic means to successfully naturalize the central cognitive preconditions of scientific theorizing. Furthermore, Gubelmann presents novel arguments for the claims that epistemological naturalists are committed to scientific realism, and that they are unable to defend this position. Based on these results, Gubelmann concludes that epistemology is not part of empirical science, which directly contradicts epistemological naturalism.


Naturalism Epistemology epistemological naturalism scientific realism Quine Maddy Psillos Burge perception nativism

Authors and affiliations

  • Reto Gubelmann
    • 1
  1. 1.University of ZurichZurichSwitzerland

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Religion and Philosophy
  • Print ISBN 978-3-030-24523-8
  • Online ISBN 978-3-030-24524-5
  • Buy this book on publisher's site