The Dispute on Philosophical Normativism in the Context of the Problem of Rational Grounding: Hans Albert versus Wolfgang Kuhlmann
The question of philosophical normativism is directly related to the discussion of the content and status of normative ethics. Since human rationality cannot claim the completeness and exhaustiveness of rational thinking procedures, one doubts the validity of philosophical (and, in particular, ethical) normativity based on the rational justification. In the twentieth century, the problem of normativism led to an intellectual confrontation between transcendental pragmatics and critical rationalism. According to critical rationalist H. Albert, normativism is unattainable in philosophical knowledge, since no norm can obtain a final justification and, therefore, acquire universal status. The philosophical justification procedure involves one of three logically contradictory strategies (so called ‘Munchausen’s trilemma’), which immediately undermines the validity of the rational grounding and inevitably relativises the norm. The representative of transcendental pragmatics W. Kuhlmann disagrees with Hans Albert. He believes, in the very structure of speech act, there is a knowledge that the speech act is an action. A competent speaker is only able to express doubt or challenge when he or she implicitly complies with the argumentation rules. This indubitable argumentative obligation is the basis of philosophical normativism.
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