Naturalism, the limits of science and the case for non-scientific knowledge
Alex Rosenberg defines naturalism as a philosophical theory that treats “science as our most reliable source of knowledge and the scientific method as our most effective route to knowledge.” The claim that all truths are discoverable by hard science, paradigmatically physics, is predicated on four hundred years of scientific success in prediction, control and technology. Rosenberg argues that since the triumphs of science shows that physics has made a good start, we should be optimistic that “it will do better than any other approach at getting things right.” But are those “things” confined to the questions of physics or all questions?
In what follows, I will focus on the question: what are the limits of scientific inquiry and does it leave any questions for non-scientists to answer? Answering that question will help us better understand the case for an irreducibly non-scientific knowledge and the intrinsic limits of the scientific method and its presuppositions. I conclude by exploring why scientists and non-scientists cannot duck the ultimate questions about meaning, values and purpose.