‘Urteilskraft, gegenseitige Anerkennung und rationale Rechtfertigung’

In Hans-Dieter Klein (ed.), Ethik Als Prima Philosophia? Königshausen & Neumann (2011)
This paper extends my prior analysis of Hegel’s solution to the Pyrrhonian Dilemma of the Criterion to moral philosophy. So doing provides a uniform account of rational justification in non-formal, substantive domains, i.e. empirical knowledge and morals. It argues that the Pyrrhonian Dilemma refutes both foundationalist and coherentist models of justification, and raises serious issues about the justificatory adequacy of contemporary forms of moral constructivism. It explicates and defends Kant’s account of the autonomy of reason as the self-critical regulation of one’s own thought and judgment in view of relevant principles, standards, evidence and alternative analyses. It argues that Kant’s account of autonomy is defensible independently of transcendental idealism and of natural causality. Due to our fallibility and incomplete knowledge and understanding, our individual critical self-assessment requires the constructive mutual criticism of others. Hence maximally rational justification in non-formal, substantive domains is in part, ineliminably, a social and historical phenomenon. These aspects of rational justification are consistent with, and ultimately support, realism about the objects of empirical knowledge and strict objectivity about basic moral principles. One’s own maximally rational justification of non-formal, substantive claims or views accordingly requires recognition of one’s justificatory dependence upon the constructive criticism of others. This requires recognizing their capacities for critical assessment and rational justification. This is the most fundamental form of mutual recognition in Hegel’s analysis. It provides direct and powerful justification for Kant’s thesis that we ought and must respect all others as autonomous rational agents, as agents who can think and act on the basis of justifying reasons. This justification is independent of Kant’s account of ‘dignity’ or the incommensurable value of rational agency.
Keywords Dilemma of the Criterion  Pyrrhonian scepticism  Social epistemology  realism  objectivity  fallibilism  mutual recognition  rational justification in non-formal domains  autonomy  moral constructivism
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