Disenchantment of Nature
In this paper, I aim to charitably summarize and analyze McDowell’s diagnosis of and cure for the characteristic anxieties that permeate discourse on the mind-world relation. Specifically, though, I will focus on the importance that McDowell affords to a new conception of nature, demonstrating the significance of this conception to the sort of “cure” he offers. By introducing second nature, McDowell resolves the quandary of the seesaw between Davidson’s self-contained coherentism and Evans’ lapse into the Myth of the Given, without completely naturalizing reason. Nonetheless, his partial re-enchantment of nature fails to break free from the ideological force that pervades the majority of this discourse—namely, epistemological hegemony. In his book, Local Histories/Global Designs: Coloniality, Subaltern Knowledges, and Border Thinking, Walter Mignolo offers a critique of epistemological hegemony, deconstructing the geopolitics of knowledge and offering a vision for a new way of thinking about knowledge. My focus in this paper is the disenchantment of nature in philosophy and the implications of this disenchantment in light of Mignolo’s thesis. Consequently, a great deal of this examination involves a discussion of epistemology and the nature of knowledge. I survey the works of McDowell, Mignolo, Churchland, Rorty, and Stone in order to provide a multi-dimensional picture of the disenchantment of nature and its implications for knowledge.