Michael C. Rea

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Michael C. Rea is an analytic philosopher and a professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He specializes in metaphysics and philosophy of religion and has competence in epistemology and applied ethics as well.[1] He is the current president of the Society of Christian Philosophers.

The argument against naturalism[edit]

Michael Rea argues that naturalists are not justified in accepting either realism about material objects, or realism about other minds, or materialism.[2] This constitutes a pragmatic case against being a naturalist. These problems can be avoided by the adoption of a supernaturalist research program that "legitimates belief in some sort of supernatural being".[3]

Rea's understanding of naturalism[edit]

According to Rea, naturalism is primarily a research program.[4] By a research program he means a particular set of dispositions to "trust certain ways of acquiring information with respect to various topics and to distrust others".[5] The core of naturalism is, therefore, something attitudinal.[6] He argues that research programs "cannot be adopted on the basis of evidence".[7] This claim suggests that the naturalist commitment to science is just a secular faith, no better epistemically than standard religion.[8]


  • World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism. Oxford: Oxford University Press (Clarendon), 2002
  • Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (with Michael Murray). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.
  • Metaphysics: The Basics, London: Routledge (under contract)

Edited works[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ http://www.nd.edu/~mrea/
  2. ^ Michael C. Rea, World Without Design: The Ontological Consequences of Naturalism, Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 8. Discussed in a Book Review by Andrew Melnyk in Mind, Volume 113, Number 451, July 2004, pp. 575-581.
  3. ^ World Without Design, p. 213-214. Melnyk 2004, p. 575-576.
  4. ^ World Without Design, p. 73.
  5. ^ World Without Design, p. 2.
  6. ^ Melnyk 2004, p. 576.
  7. ^ World Without Design, pp. 6-7.
  8. ^ Melnyk 2004, 577.