Publication Details

Melleuish, G. C. and Rizzo, S. G. (2015). Limits of naturalism: plasticity, finitude and the imagination. Cosmos and History: the journal of natural and social philosophy, 11 (1), 221-238.


This paper argues that the two primary features defining human beings are their finitude and plasticity and that this is the consequence that human beings live in a world which is constantly changing, hence historical. This means that the relationship between humans and their world is constantly changing and hence that relationship cannot be understood in a simple naturalistic fashion. Not only is there no ‘innocence of language’, but humanity relates to the world in a variety of ways ranging from prose to poetry to art and music. It is the continuous creation of this multiplicity of approaches to the world as the product of historical dynamism which constitutes the real meaning of naturalism.