The groundwork that philosophers can carry out to assist in the development of a naturalized account of reason is not to be understood in terms of setting up foundations but is better thought of along the lines of, as Locke put it, “clearing the ground a little, and removing some of the rubbish that lies in the way to knowledge.” In practice this means coming to understand which elements of the traditional conception of reason are mistaken and, on the basis of philosophical arguments as well as empirical evidence, moulding adequate naturalist substitutes. Unlike the building of foundations, this work is to be carried out hand-in-hand with work done in the empirical sciences. In my talk I will argue that the philosophical argument that plays the central role in the moulding of a naturalist conception of reason is Hume’s problem of induction which ought to be understood not as skeptical of all reason but of the possibility of providing reasoning with an a priori justification. This leaves open the possibility of reasoning being justified a posteriori but brings about fundamental changes in how reason is to be understood. In particular, it leads to the rejection of a number of elements of the traditional conception of reason and their replacement by naturalized alternatives.
Konrad Talmont-Kaminski is currently a lecturer at the Marie Curie Sklodowska University in Lublin, Poland. He obtained his BA in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Melbourne, his MA from the University of Western Ontario, and his doctorate from Monash University. His work lies within analytical epistemology and philosophy of science and focuses on developing a broadly Peircean naturalized account of reason. For many years he has been working with John Collier, a past KLI Fellow.