Naturalism is an idea that usefully complements materialism. From a skeptical point of view, it might only be a euphemism for materialism, but in actuality it is rather less restrictive. It is reported that one can be a naturalistic theist. This is possible because naturalism orients itself toward local problems, eschewing metaphysics of any kind when it comes to problem solving. At most, naturalists adhere to a non-reductive neutral monism. In dealing with those pragmatic problems it upholds the scientific method as an ideal. There might well be a God beyond the natural order, and religious practice could be beneficial within the natural order, but never the twain shall meet except in the imagination of the believer.
Obviously, naturalism stands as a more worthy opponent of immaterialism than does materialism, which too easily becomes a mere straw person.
We can then follow Jerrold Katz in his exposition of the Naturalistic Fallacy that appears in his Metaphysics of Meaning. In doing so I must take issue with David Chalmers’ ‘hard problem’ approach to the mind. His divisive strategy begs the Cartesian solution, although he claims to be a naturalist.
Katz is a non-naturalist of the Platonic persuasion. He confronts the behaviorist and functionalist understanding of language, an issue which Chalmers et al wish to concede in favor of their ‘hard problem’ (and sexier problem) of consciousness. Katz concedes nothing.
Katz uses mathematics as his starting point. He defends the position that in mathematics Platonism has never been seriously challenged. The only disagreement comes from anti-platonic philosophers, not from mathematicians. Given this fact, it is rather easy to extend Platonism to the realm of language in light of the notorious problems that continue to haunt the behaviorists and functionalists in that domain.
This is not to suggest that research into computational
linguistics is not useful, because it will continue to be so, but that
we do not need to sell our souls in the process.