Critical Ethics (completed)
April 2008 – July 2011
Leader and Post-doc: Harald Stelzer
Doctoral researcher: Philippe Streit
Funded by the Austrian Science Fund
The aim of this FWF-funded project, which was submitted and coordinated by Harald Stelzer, was to develop a systematic and coherent critical-rationalist ethical position by building on Karl Popper’s philosophy and Critical Rationalism. To do so we took into account critical-rationalist considerations of ethics, social philosophy, epistemology, and philosophy of science as well as important debates in meta-, normative and applied ethics. The result of this project is a theory called ‘problem solving ethics’ (PSE).
The account of problem solving ethics (PSE) developed within this project aims at addressing complex moral and political problems. PSE enables a comparative analysis of moral standards as well as of problem solutions within applied ethics. It starts from an integrated description of the problem situation, reflecting the interdisciplinary character of PSE.
It then sets out to identify different problem solutions. In a third step it checks their adequacy and compares them by analyzing their problem-solving capacity. Finally, it develops a set of normative criteria to evaluate the moral acceptance and legitimacy of the problem solutions. These normative criteria are based on the critical reflection of the axiological base of a given society and the clarification of relevant assumptions of the underlying moral theory. PSE is a genuine ethical approach. It is not only capable of combining an interdisciplinary search for problem solutions with ethical considerations, but also brings forward the importance of normative aspects throughout the process of problem solving. The analysis of the problem situation is itself already value-laden, as is the evaluation of the problem-solving capacity. PSE allows us to go back and forth between the problem situation, problem solutions and their consequences, our background theories and our moral judgments and normative principles. This allowed us to clarify normative principles and remove internal tensions within critical rationalism.
PSE claims to be an advancement of critical rationalism on not only the theoretical (metaethical and normative) but also the practical level.
ContactHead of the section Univ.-Prof. Dr. Lukas Meyer
ContactOffice and project management
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