Challenging Exclusionary Naturalism

Nathan Robert Cockram


The purpose of this paper is to reconstruct Hilary Kornblith’s (2002) argument for excluding conceptual analysis from epistemological inquiry, and then provide three objections to it.  More specifically, Kornblith argues that epistemological properties such as ‘knowledge’ reduce to natural kinds (with a constitutive essence) which can only be discovered and investigated using the a posteriori methods of the natural sciences. Thus, he continues, conceptual analysis can’t properly illuminate the target domain.  The three objections to Kornblith’s argument which I present are as follows: (i) Multiple Realizeability, (ii) Psychological Explanation, (iii) Starting Points.  On strength of these objections, I conclude that Kornblith’s brand of a posteriori epistemology both eliminates our ability to make epistemic evaluations in general, and also implies a strong form of scepticism. 


Kornblith, conceptual analysis, naturalized epistemology

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