Edward Feser's Argument Against Scientism

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In his book titled Scholastic Metaphysics: A Contemporary Introduction, Edward Feser includes a 20-page overview of the four main points of his argument against scientism. He confidently claims that although many philosophers stray away from the dated ideas of metaphysics to the more contemporary scientism, there are no strong arguments for scientism. Feser’s four arguments against scientism are as follows. His first point is that scientism cannot achieve its intended result unless it becomes trivial. He then claims that there is no way that science, or even the scientific method, could provide an accurate description or explanation of all the phenomenons of reality. Feser’s third argument is that even the laws that science provides in order …show more content…
Within this argument, he claims that science cannot provide a complete description of reality as many phenomenons cannot be explained by science without the use of circular reasoning, as explained in his first argument. The example that Feser provides is that physics only uses quantitative descriptions to explain phenomenons, however not everything can be described strictly quantitatively. There are only some parts of the world that can be quantified by scientific descriptions, however other parts require qualitative descriptions. Feser argues that the scientific method only targets particular aspects of reality even though users of the scientific method guarantee that the scientific method shows all aspects of reality and everything not targeted by the method is assumed and everyone already knows. The main strength of this argument is the examples that Feser includes of things that cannot be described by scientific quantitative descriptions. This includes the example of physics and certain aspects of the scientific method. However, the main weakness of this argument is the analogy of circular reasoning that is provided. The analogy Feser uses is that a house is cleaned by sweeping all the dirt under the rug and the dirt under the rug is cleaned by sweeping it around the house. Although this analogy is true and does explain circular reasoning, I would argue that it belongs in argument 1 …show more content…
Feser argues that the argument for scientism based on the technological achievements of science is the worst argument for scientist. He believes that it is foolish to think that the successes of modern science can prove that science alone can reveal all natural phenomenons. Feser uses the analogy of a metal detector having far greater success in finding coins in other metallic objects than any other method. Therefore, people believe that what metal detectors reveal is real. The strength of this argument is the analogy, as it supports Feser’s claim and provides an example of his argument taking action in the real world. The analogy of the metal detector shows that if scientists create something to detect objects that they deem as real, not based on philosophical assumptions, then they do not actually know that these objects are real. However, the weakness of this argument is that it is contradictory to the first argument, which states that science is based off of basic philosophical distinctions. Therefore, some people might accept those distinctions, such as believing that the word does exist outside of their mind, and continue with their scientific

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