Contemporary Perspectives in Philosophy of Religion
Edited By Sebastian Kolodziejczyk and Janusz Salamon
Science, Religion and Common Sense
These last decades, the vast literary output on science and religion has concentrated on cutting-edge developments in science, mainly in theoretical physics, cognitive science, and evolutionary biology. Philosophy of religion in this area has therefore struggled with various intricate arguments that are often heavily interlaced with the technical language of these sciences. Against this background, a new kind of argument is now emerging, a form of argument that cuts across these well-established debates because it refers not to scientific discoveries but to the rather mundane idea of common sense. If science is an elaborate, extended, or enhanced version of common sense, while religion is not, can we conclude that science is better than religion? An answer to this question has crucial repercussions in a number of areas of philosophy. For instance, it would throw light on the impact of a new form of naturalism that is gaining popularity, a form of naturalism less associated with positivism and more with pragmatism. It also would redraw attention to the philosophical centrality of common sense as a possible source of justification.
Hence it is timely to deal directly with this question, and a good way to situate the discussion is to start with Susan Haack’s book Defending Science Within Reason, where she articulates this issue very clearly. I will first give an overview of her main arguments, especially those that deal with religion, and then will proceed with a sustained analysis of the nature of...
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