How Should We Think about the Contrast between the Natural and the Supernatural?

Rembrandt's oil-on-canvas painting, Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer (mentioned below).


Rembrandt's oil-on-canvas painting, Aristotle Contemplating a Bust of Homer (mentioned below).Flickr Thomas Hawk (CC)

In the following lecture, part of the Humane Philosophy Project‘s lecture series on supernaturalism, philosopher Tim Crane (University of Cambridge) discusses what the distinction between the natural and the supernatural means for philosophy of mind:

One Response

  1. Me-sir says:

    This seems like a realist argument. I like it! I am going to discuss this as me.

    There’s nothing wrong with imagining supernatural entities because the natural world exhibits signs that there is more going on. These could be explained through my experiences. In theory you should have had experiences like this. A voice talking, an unlikely event, a convenient truth. My own ideas that seem too logical to be untrue. Or seemingly crafted dreams.

    Often people say they have a personal relationship with God. I like that about life, yet it does not fully fit in with a naturalist perspective, unless supernatural is considered to be a possibility. As I believe it is a possibility, both supernatural and natural are things I believe in.

    I want to point out why I think this discussion of naturalism is important.

    I would be discussing substance dualism if Tim Crane had not hit the nail on the head. As someone who studied dualism, I find the arguments here sound. I want to address the human as special. Are we made out of super-substance? Are we some sort of unique creature that is of a higher calibre than others? I like to think we are the same as other organisms. And yet to hold on to the idea that we are special is crucial for the success of the species in the grand scheme of the universe. There are religious predictions of what man is for, though if life continues in the space we occupy now, then we all need to push for a brighter tomorrow.

    Why is it good to be a naturalist as a person within society with a future? Are morals going to be bad if we do not “fully” accept the supernatural? Or are cultural morals good enough?

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