A roundup with commentary: Edward Feser on scientism. Feser’s work is self-recommending — there are few better writers in all of philosophy, and he’s got a top notch mind.
Of special interest to me are Feser’s engagements with Alexander Rosenberg. I know Alex Rosenberg’s work about as well as anyone, and Feser’s judgment of Rosenberg’s defense of Rosenberg’s grand scientistic project in metaphysics, epistemology and the philosophy of science (“I certainly don’t think he grapples seriously with the main difficulties facing his position”) reflects what is a fairly widespread assessment of Rosenberg’s general approach — develop your research program as far as you can as well as you can, and turn a blind eye to difficulties that you can’t handle and only a superficial glance at research programs that don’t fit.
Rosenberg is a classic “normal science” philosopher, a “master of his subject” — Humean causation, the Received View of science, standard micro, Quine, Darwinian biology, etc. — and he is the farthest thing from a “puzzler” or “muddler” or a “revolutionary science” paradigm shifter (ref: F. A. Hayek, “Two Types of Mind” and Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions). Indeed, Rosenberg is as good as they get among those still attempting to vindicate the overarching Humean/Millian/Nagel/Quine tradition in learning theory, the philosophy of science, and mind/brain theory — and metaphysics and epistemology and the philosophy of language more generally.