Why I Am A Science-Inspired Naturalist but Not a Philosophical Naturalist nor a Religious Naturalist

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Ever since I published a book with the title Religion, Science and Naturalism (1996), some have considered me a ‘religious naturalist’. However, I decline this label for myself. In this contribution, I seek to articulate my position more clearly. I advocate science-inspired naturalism. I will argue that this need not imply philosophical naturalism and religious naturalism. If not, as I will argue, why not? When one considers the interpretation of science and of mathematical objects and moral values, one cannot just turn to science. More is needed. A question is whether that ‘more’ falls within the ambit of ‘naturalism’, as a philosophical naturalist seems to hold. As I see it, for all practical purposes one might take a science-inspired naturalistic stance in daily life (e.g. when needing medical assistance), consider Kantian constructivism an attractive strategy when it comes to philosophical justification of values, appreciate the motivating and identity-defining power of religious and personal narratives that integrate ethos, loves, and one’s worldview, while considering oneself agnostic on matters of ultimate explanations and values.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIssues in Science and Theology: Nature - and Beyond
EditorsMichael Fuller, Dirk Evers, Anne Runehov, Knut-Willy Saether, Bernard Michollet
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9783030311827
ISBN (Print)9783030311810
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2020

Publication series

NameIssues in Science and Religion
ISSN (Print)2364-5717
ISSN (Electronic)2364-5725


  • constructivism
  • naturalism
  • naturalistic theism
  • negative theology
  • philosophical naturalism
  • pluralism
  • religious naturalism
  • science
  • science-inspired naturalism


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