The Strategy of Reason - Rationality in the Fields of Knowledge, Morals, and Metaphysics, Tübingen 1993.
Published in German. This book has not yet been translated into English: H. J. Niemann, Die Strategie der Vernunft - Rationalität in Erkenntnis, Moral und Metaphysik, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden (Vieweg-Reihe Wissenschaftstheorie Bd. 38) 1993.
This book is about problem oriented rationality. The job of rationality is not only critcism but problem solving as well. The method of rational problem solving Popper applied to metaphysics can also be applied to ethics. Using this method one finds some metaphysical acceptable. Thus metaphysics is rehabilitated after a long time of banishment. And discussing ethics rationally ethics is on its way to become a scientific discipline. However there exists one restriction: values which are connected with our way of life can never be the result of scientific thinking. They are to be discovered. In opposition to these values of our way of life moral values are to be invented and to be rationally discussed. Rationally discussing means asking whether moral values or moral maxims do the job they are invented for. Moral values are seen as strategies of problem solving. If values of life become problematic they also can be discussed rationally. Critical rational ethics is very transparent, but why then are moral things often so complex? This is because of the inherent problems of ethics. E.g. if children learnt the "best way" concerning any special moral problem, they probably would always go this way. However the world of problems is changing and therefore the solutions has also to be changed. Thus one meta-problem of ethics is that it cannot be at the same time both rationally adaptable and deeply rooted. This is one internal main problem or meta-problem, which is an inherent ethical difficulty and which has nothing to do with those problems of social life ethics is invented to resolve. There are three further meta-problems ...
Remarks of Karl Popper about this book.
List of contents
Part I: Rationality as a Strategy for Problem-Solving
1. The Critical-Rational Imperative
2. Rationality as Unlimited Criticism
The critical test replaces foundation of knowledge - rationality as a justification - Why rationality is more than criticism - criticism means not an end - criterions for the efficiency of theories and maxims - critical rationalism thinking alternatives
3. The critical-rational process of problem-solving
The process of problem-solving in detail - Progressive problem-solving - The case of increasing problems - Incommensurability - how to evaluate values - Complete problem solutions - The objective valuation of rational problem solutions - Old and new rationality - About the critical-rational imperative - Demarcation to the rationality principle - Partial or relative rationality - Max Weber about rationality
4. The Maxims of Critical Rationalism
Rationalism on search of a principle - maxims as strategies for actions - critic rational ethics - diverging principles - The characteristic of critical rationalism - fields of application of the critical rational imperative - ordinary actions and politics - aesthetics
5. Criticism on Problem-orientated Rationalism
Is the problem-orientated rationalism a kind of pragmatism? - Demarcation against instrumentalism and constructivism - Is there any pure knowledge? - About the self-reference of the problem-orientated rationalism - Is the decision to rationality an irrational one? - By what are we forced to be rational? - How to handle traditions? - Is the critical rationalism always right and immune against criticism?
Part II: Rational Metaphysics
6. About 'Right' and 'Wrong' in Metaphysics
Introduction - Metaphysical problems - Science replacing metaphysics - Conceptional philosophy - Criterions of meaning - The importance of metaphysics in science - The rehabilitation of metaphysics by critical rationalism - Objective wrong metaphysics - Solipsism - Fatalism - Relativistic tolerance - Objective correct metaphysics - Can we prove the existence of the feelings of other persons? - Realism of everyday-life - Metaphysics of the open future - Metaphysics of the past - About the reception of the critical-rational rehabilitation of metaphysics
7. Rational and Irrational Metaphysics
Types of irrational metaphysics - Metaphysics without having a problem - Problems without trying to solve them - Problems should be weighty - Strategies for immunization - Irrationality of preventing alternative solutions - Criticism concerning rationality and disparaging enlightenment- Dogmatism and skepticism - Partial solutions - Irrationalism of feelings - Philosophy of paradigms
Part III: Rationality and Morals
8. Introduction: Four Main Problems of Morals
The concepts of morals, philosophy of morals, ethics and meta-ethics - The four main problems of morals
9. About the Question: What Ought We Do?
Rationality as a regulative Idea - When are actions good ones? - Who are the affected persons when solving a complex problem? - Incommensurability - Uncertainty because of uncompleted calculations - How to evaluate the measure of evaluation? - Making a difference between moral and non-moral values
10. Strategies of Morals
To shorten the decision process - Following rules or deciding rationally? - Without rules no cooperation - Moral theories and scientific theories
11. Pushing Through Moral Rules
The third main problem of morals - Persuasion to act morally - Morals and self-interest - Morals bound to psychic structures - To make moral principles being emotively rooted - Morals always need deeply rooted feelings - Combining morals and egoism
12. Problems of Re-Evaluation of Values
Conflicts between old and new morals - Conflicts between rationality and morals - Have rigid rules any advantage?
13. Rationality and Values
Abou the good - Justice - Absolute Values - Rigid moral values - The values of critical rationalism - Is there a highest value in the view of critical rationalism? - Can rationality be morally unacceptable? - Objective moral values - Are there universal values? - The aim of morals and moral progress
14. Moral Principles in the View of Critical Rationalism
Why looking for new moral principles? - The first universalization - The rational explanation of the first universalization - The second universalization - The third universalization - The rational explanation of the second and the third universalization - A recent example
15. Is Critical-rational Ethics a Kind of Utilitarism?
Five objections to utilitarism - Happiness by avoiding problems - Problems about measuring happiness and misery.
Literature / Persons / Subjects
H. J. Niemann, 10-Mar-1996, revised 3-Apr-2000.
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