Pluralism and naturalism: Why the proliferation of theories is good for the mind

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A number of those that have advocated for theoretical pluralism in epistemology suggest that naturalistic arguments from cognitive science can support their case. Yet these theorists have traditionally faced two pressing needs. First, they have needed a cognitive science adequate to the task. Second, they have needed a bridge between whatever scientific account of cognition they favor and the normative claims of a pluralistic epistemology. Both of these challenges are addressed below in an argument for theoretical pluralism that brings together two recent prototype-activation approaches to cognition. The paper dovetails Paul Churchland's neuro-computational approach with George Lakoff and Mark Johnson's image schematic approach, and shows how they mutually support each other in an increasingly persuasive naturalistic case for theoretical pluralism in epistemology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)715-735
Number of pages21
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Cognitive Science
  • Epistemology
  • Naturalism
  • Patterns and Prototypes
  • Pluralism


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