Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One versed in natural history, especially in zoology or botany.
  • n. One who believes in and follows the tenets of naturalism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A person committed to studying nature or natural history.
  • n. A person who believes in or advocates the tenets of philosophical or methodological naturalism.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One versed in natural science; a student of natural history, esp. of the natural history of plants or animals; a botanist or zoologist.
  • n. One who holds or maintains the doctrine of naturalism in religion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. One who understands natural causes; one who is versed in natural science or philosophy; specifically, one who is versed in or devoted to natural history; in the most restricted sense, a zoölogist or botanist.
  • n. One who holds the theological theory or doctrine of naturalism.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an advocate of the doctrine that the world can be understood in scientific terms
  • n. a biologist knowledgeable about natural history (especially botany and zoology)

Etymologies

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Examples

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Comments

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  • I agree with oroboros--good recommendations! I've already added your proposed book(s) to my reading list (as "Uselessness' Field Guide to Philosophy"). :-)

    Philosophy can be hard to slog through. I like to alternate any difficult nonfiction I may want to read with a few juicy novels, just to keep things balanced.

    August 22, 2007

  • Thanks for the tips, I'll check 'em out!

    August 22, 2007

  • Bertrand Russell ("A History of Western Philosophy") and Will Durant ("The Story of Philosophy") do a pretty good job of that, although modern philosophers like Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Tillich and the like aren't included because of the publication dates of those works. Anyway, recommended. And good luck on the philosophy exegesis project!

    August 22, 2007

  • I love philosophy, but I admit that reading it is often frustrating because it's so thick and pretentious. One of these days, when I have more lots and lots of free time, I'd like to translate/paraphrase the major philosophers into modern language ordinary people can understand. And I'll start with Kierkegaard. :-)

    I also want to write my own easy-to-read philosophy books so I don't have to be the only person in this group any more. :-P

    August 22, 2007

  • Work, Wordie--same thing. I mean, I am in the words business, so I figure it counts for something. ;->

    Maybe I'll get back to Kierkegaard myself. Haven't read him since college....

    August 22, 2007

  • My lips is sealed! *zzzzziiiiiippppp*

    August 22, 2007

  • Shhh! Don't tell the bossman!

    August 22, 2007

  • You mean "at Wordie" right?

    August 22, 2007

  • I am. Reading through Works of Love at the moment, actually. Well not *right* now, I'm at work. ;-)

    August 22, 2007

  • Wow. You really need t-shirts for your group. :-)

    So you are a Kierkegaard fan, I presume? Or no?

    August 22, 2007

  • It's certainly fun to be your own group. I, for example, have yet to meet another emergent existentialist Christian libertarian. But maybe I'm just being too specific. ;-)

    August 22, 2007

  • Sure would--but I'd have to catch him on a good day. He can be a tad ornery. ;-)

    August 22, 2007

  • Be interesting to get his views on nihilism or anarchism do you think?

    August 22, 2007

  • I have to agree with you--in fact, maybe this is *his* problem, not ours. :-) I only know what he's told me. I've always suspected he uses the description "atheist" almost literally--as in, not believing in a god but not necessarily believing in anything else. Which brings us back to square one here, I suppose.

    August 22, 2007

  • So your friend doesn't believe in God... but does believe in supernatural occurrences? Like ghosts and stuff? I guess that could be defined as atheism, perhaps, but it would seem a person in that position might want to do some more evaluating of how s/he really believes and chooses to be identified. And then there are the apatheists, who are in a whole other boat altogether. I'd say the label "atheist" is only for people who are decided on the matter, not for people who aren't sure or don't care.

    August 22, 2007

  • Don't know, uselessness. I get all of that, but I've always thought that this "natural" vs. "spiritual" dichotomy is far too clean to help us make sense of the muddiness we live with. I know a self-proclaimed atheist, for example, who couldn't care less about the natural world. Where would he fall in this argument? I'm almost certain he wouldn't describe himself as a naturalist.

    I suppose I should ask him directly, but he's not available at the moment. ;-)

    August 22, 2007

  • Oh, and I've heard "Dawkins' definition" of naturalism since way before Dawkins claimed it, I think.

    August 22, 2007

  • I think that's the definition of atheism. Anything veering away from a strictly natural belief system enters the territory of theism, or at least agnosticism.

    August 22, 2007

  • Maybe he needs to choose a different word, though. In my view, "naturalist" already has quite a good definition, and while it may intersect that of Dawkins' in some ways, it certainly isn't the same definition as the one he proposes. Presently the word refers to someone who studies nature and natural history (or teaches them), not one who "believes" in it. Awfully confusing, in my opinion.

    And does he mean to suggest that all atheists necessarily believe in the natural world and vice versa? Is that really the case? (This isn't necessarily a rhetorical question--I'm not at all sure about this, not being well-versed in the subject.)

    August 22, 2007

  • Everything is spin. Mr. Dawkins can relabel himself however he wants, but it's fairly despicable to intentionally slight religious groups by trying to relabel them. It's like "pro-life/pro-death" vs. "pro-choice/anti-choice," which is a pretty stupid battle of rhetoric in itself. Though the word naturalist is a good one, Dawkins is a jerk for foisting the purposely negative supernaturalist on his "rivals."

    August 22, 2007

  • In the ongoing resurgence of atheistic thinking, the term naturalist has taken on a nuanced and politicized meeting.

    Spokesatheist Richard Dawkins, in his book The God Delusion, recognizes that the term "atheist" has a negative definition, i.e. a person who does not believe in god, and that a negative definition unnecessarily frames atheists at the margin rather than at the center of the discussion. Additionally, this particular term has a negative semantic orientation among moderate, influenceable Americans.

    Instead, he has proposed the adoption of the alternate terms "naturalist" and "supernaturalist." This frames atheism with a positive definition and at the center, i.e. a person who believes in the natural world, with all of the positive associations of the word "natural." This consequently frames believers at the margin, de-privileging the concepts of gods, angels, and devils, by underscoring the salient similarity between them and the concepts of ghosts, psychics, and the X-Files.

    --From Tato at Everything2.com

    August 22, 2007