Het fundamentele argument tegen sciëntisme | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 107, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-5275
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1244



This paper presents and discusses a major worry for scientism, which I take to be the view that only natural science (reliably) delivers rational belief. The argument is that natural science itself is, in some sense of the word, the fundament of the deliverances of non-scientific sources of belief, such as auditory perception, metaphysical intuition, logical intuition, and memory, so that if we were to discard these non-scientific sources of belief, we would have to discard natural science as well. After spelling out what I mean by ‘scientism’, I lay out the Fundamental Argument in detail. Subsequently, I discuss three objections that might be leveled against the argument, namely that scientism suffers merely from a local rather than a global basing problem, that the results of natural science are confirmed or repeatable, whereas the deliverances of non-scientific belief sources are not, and that the results of natural science are inter-subjective, whereas the deliverances of non-scientific are not. I argue that each of these objections is unconvincing. I then consider two more sophisticated versions of scientism that are meant to sidestep the Fundamental Argument. On Scientism 2.0, only natural science those non-scientific sources of belief that are presupposed by natural science deliver rational belief. On Scientism 3.0, only those propositions can be rationally believed that can be known on the basis of natural science. I argue that both of these more sophisticated versions of scientism either fail to escape from the Fundamental Argument or become trivial and uninteresting claims.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): belief; fundamental argument; natural science; rationality; scientism
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