Re: naturalism and Materialism

Craig Rusbult (
Mon, 15 Jun 1998 03:54:49 -0500

What do you think about the use of methodological naturalism (mN) and
philosophical Materialism (pM) as terms and abbreviations? Or maybe we
should use wM (worldview Materialism) instead of pM?

Here is a pro-con discussion from my overview-endnote,

abbreviations: A problem is that 3 of the 4 terms begin with m. One
possible solution, based on a comparison of the theological importance of
the prefixes, is to use "M" for metaphysical and "m" for methodological; if
capital letters are used for the conclusions, we have MM and mN. Logically
this makes sense, but linguistically it is awkward to have so many m's, so
perhaps a compromise -- by changing MM (metaphysical M) to pM
(philosophical M) -- would be helpful. In doing this there is a loss of
precision, since "metaphysical" is more specific than the broad
"philosophical" which includes metaphysics and much more, including
epistemological methodology --- the term being contrasted with metaphysics!
But using pM and mN, instead of PM and MN, does provide a reminder of the
distinction between the type of claim (non-capitalized) and the claim
(capitalized). Or pM could simply be called Materialism (M), but "M and
mN" would not highlight the difference between type-of-claim and claim.
Other possibilities would be wM (worldview M) or rM (religious M). All
things considered, I suggest using pM (or maybe wM) and mN, but I'm
open-minded about reasons for using other abbreviations. p247