Narrative Naturalism

Narrative Naturalism : An Alternative Framework for Philosophy of Mind

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Narrative Naturalism: An Alternative Framework for Philosophy of Mind provides an original framework for a non-reductive approach to mind and philosophical psychology. Jessica Wahman challenges the reductive (i.e., mechanistic and physicalist) assumptions that render the mind-body problem intractable, and claims that George Santayana's naturalism provides a more beneficial epistemological method and ontological framework for thinking about the place of consciousness in the natural world. She uses Santayana's thought as the primary inspiration for her own specific viewpoint, one that draws on a variety of sources, from analytic philosophy of mind to existentialism and psychoanalysis. This outlook, narrative naturalism, depicts sense-making as a kind of storytelling where different narratives serve different purposes, and Wahman offer a unique worldview to accommodate a variety of true expressions about the world, including truths about subjective existence. Motivated by a desire to challenge the reductionist approaches that explain human motivation and experience in terms of neuroscience and by the increasingly pharmacological interpretations of and solutions to psychological problems, Wahman's overarching purpose is to reconstruct the issue so that neuroscience can be embraced as an indispensable story among others in our understanding of the human condition. When placed in this context, neurobiological discoveries better serve the values and practices associated with human self-knowledge and well-being. Narrative Naturalism will appeal to those interested in American philosophy, Santayana scholarship, pragmatist epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophical psychology, and metaphysics.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 161 x 236 x 20mm | 440g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 073918797X
  • 9780739187975

Review quote

Jessica Wahman has organized a sophisticated and well-written Santayanan counterattack. Her aim is to show that Santayana's naturalism is suited to contribute to current debates over reductionism and the philosophy of mind. Wahman rejects mechanism and physicalism as philosophical misinterpretations of the natural sciences. She employs careful arguments in epistemology and neuroscience to display Santayana's scheme as an alternative to both reductive physicalism and emergence...[T]his volume rights a wrong within the contemporary American tradition: the neglect of one of its most provocative early naturalists and his rightful impact on current debate. Review of Metaphysics Jessica Wahman has written a superior book. Starting with ideas found in George Santayana's later works, Wahman develops several implications of these ideas to address some recent turns of thought. Narrative Naturalism, as a consequence, is not an exposition of Santayana's writings, nor is it aimed primarily at Santayana scholars, but rather at the wide range of contemporary philosophers, especially those who have followed recent discussions in cognitive science. Furthermore, as she writes with a clear, straightforward style and addresses the theoretic grounding of psychotherapy, this book should also benefit practicing psychotherapists. It could also serve to introduce the generally educated reader to issues in both cognitive theory and psychotherapy-and to the ideas of Santayana, as well...[A] fine and illuminating analysis. Overheard in Seville: Bulletin of the George Santayana Society Narrative Naturalism is a first-rate study of George Santayana's contribution to contemporary philosophy. Far more than this, it is an instance of first-rate philosophizing. Its wide-ranging erudition is indeed matched by its deep-cutting insights. The clarity, precision, and subtlety with which complex issues are accessibly presented are evident at every turn, as are the care, rigor, and imagination with which the author's own methodological and substantive positions are defended. Jessica Wahman's singular contribution to contemporary debates about mind, consciousness, and identity deepens our understanding of the principal questions and opens our minds to a spectrum of possible answers beyond what is presently envisioned. -- Vincent Colapietro, Pennsylvania State University The great revival of Santayana's philosophy includes not only careful interpretations of his work, but also creative extensions of his ideas. A sprightly new voice, Wahman deepens the conversation and makes a persuasive case for narrative naturalism. -- John Lachs, Vanderbilt Universityshow more

About Jessica Wahman

Jessica Wahman is visiting associate professor of philosophy at Emory University's Oxford College.show more

Table of contents

1. Narrative 2. The Physicalist Trap 3. Naturalism 4. The Essence(S) Of the Matter 5. Why Psyche Matters 6. Expressive Truth 7. Irreducible Spirit 8. Some Uses Of This Discoveryshow more