Please explain the advantages and disadvantages of naturalistic explanations.

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Naturalistic explanations, or naturalism, is the idea that the world and its phenomena is perceived through the five senses of the body: vision, hearing, scent, taste, and touch. The philosophy of naturalism posits that the world around us can be interpreted through our five senses, and therefore the perception of the external environment is processed in a natural way through one's own biological functions.


One of the advantages of naturalistic explanation is that it is a materialist perspective and not based on theories or the metaphysical. When one sees a particular event or phenomenon, the naturalist explanation will be based on observation through the human body's five senses. The scientific method relies heavily on naturalistic explanation. Scientists observe experiments or real-time phenomena using their senses and then record the data.

Another advantage of naturalistic explanation is the fact that it is more difficult to refute than metaphysical explanations (e.g., acts of God/gods, supernatural forces, paranormal activity, etc.). This is because anyone with functioning senses can replicate the experience of, say, witnessing an eclipse. From a legal context, naturalistic explanation is what is relied on in court in the form of witness testimonies, visual evidence, and other observable references.


One of the disadvantages of naturalistic explanation is that it is subjective in nature. Meaning, each individual on the planet has a unique body and neurological ability. Unless a phenomenon is blatant and irrefutable, various people could interpret external stimuli differently through their senses and perception. For example, a person who is color-blind will observe something different from those who observe a stop light as being the color red.

Another disadvantage of naturalistic explanation is that it is too narrow. Meaning, the observation and the subsequent interpretation of an event are limited to the five senses of the human body. An example is the body's sense of balance, which some argue is a sixth sense, because it is independent of any of the other five. Other tangible sensory functions of the body are not usually associated with naturalism, and this omission makes naturalistic explanations limited.

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