A Second Naturalization for a Second Nature

  • Ernesto Perini-Santos
Part of the Studies in German Idealism book series (SIGI, volume 20)


McDowell’s argument to refuse a scientific approach to human rationality is that lawful explanations are unable to account for our rational agency. However, not every scientific explanation is a lawful one. There is another argument to the the same effect: (a) there are distinct inquiries concerning the space of reasons: causal inquiries and constitutive inquiries; (b) they are independent of each other; (c) science addresses only the first sort of questions; (d) therefore, it has no impact on inquiries concerning constitutive features of the space of reasons. I will argue that (b) is false, and therefore (c) is at best unclear. The idea of a second nature suggests more unified view of human knowledge, a sort of Hegelian approach. However, for Hegel, the realm of reason encompasses all of nature, and this is an untenable route towards a full re-enchantment of nature. We should be open to the consequences to our self-understanding of different inquiries of natural sciences about how our second nature emerges and how it unfolds. Once we take account of the different sorts of inquiry in the surroundings of rational agency, we see that we cannot predict in advance how our self-understanding will change as a result of changes in different scientific domains. The concept of second nature gives an appropriate frame to this sort of accommodation.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ernesto Perini-Santos
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG)Belo HorizonteBrazil

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