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Naturalism and Agnosticism, vol. 1 1896–1898

James Ward


Table of Contents


Ward's lecture series (Naturalism and Agnosticism) seeks to defend an adequate basis for theistic inquiry in light of certain assumptions made by science that would preclude such an inquiry's possibility. Naturalism has a tendency to favour materialism. Where naturalism takes agnosticism for its ally (something it must do if its doctrines are not to remain dogma) and is, thereby, forced to choose between spiritualism and materialism, it opts for the materialist terminology (albeit for practical purposes in the progression of scientific enquiry). However, materialism cannot stand up to the strain of analysis in light of the relation between organic and inorganic elements of nature. The dualism of matter and mind is untenable on any materialist account and this is most notably displayed in light of reflections upon experience. The elimination of dogma that the agnostic attitude (scepticism) presents us with leaves us with a neutral monism. However, if confidence is placed in the materialist understanding, the result is error. Idealism (spiritualistic monism), Ward argues, is the ‘one stable position’ in light of preceding concerns and the arguments in its defence see fit to open the door for the possibility of theistic inquiry and, thereby, for a rational theology.
KEY WORDS: Naturalism, materialism, evolution, materialistic reductionism, spiritualistic monism, Kant, mathematics, Theory of Psychological Parallelism

Publication Data

OnlineTextbook Publishers1899
Original n/a
Templeton Press