The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 45, 1998

Theory of Knowledge

Bahaa Darwish
Pages 70-80

Two Points Against Naturalized Epistemology

My aim is to raise two points against naturalizing epistemology. First, against Quine’s version of naturalizing epistemology, I claim that the traditional questions of epistemology are indispensable, in that they impose themselves in every attempt to construct an epistemology. These epistemological questions are pre- and extra-scientific questions; they are beyond the scientific domain of research, thus, for a distinct province of inquiry. Second, I claim that no naturalistic account can be given as an answer to the traditional question of justification. I take Goldman’s and Haack’s accounts as examples to support my claim. The traditional demand of justification is to start from nowhere. Naturalizing justification is to start form somewhere. The two approaches are, thus, necessarily incompatible with each other. So, the accounts given by the naturalists are not answers to the traditional problem of justification. To remain compatible with themselves, the naturalists should have conceded that the problem of justification is illegitimate or incoherent. The fact that they did not I take as additional evidence to support my claim that the traditional questions of epistemology are indispensable: they impose themselves and are, thus, hard to eliminate.