Treatise on Critical Reason

Treatise on Critical Reason

Translated by Mary Varney Rorty
Copyright Date: 1985
Pages: 268
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Treatise on Critical Reason
    Book Description:

    Albert approaches critical rationalism as an alternative to other philosophical standpoints dominant in Germany: the conceptions of the Frankfurt School, hermeneutical thinking as represented by Gadamer, analytic philosophy, and logical empiricism. The author's purpose is to find a way out of the foundationalism of classical philosophy without falling back on the skeptical views so prevalent in today's philosophical thinking.

    Originally published in 1985.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5492-9
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. ix-x)
    Karl Popper

    Hans Albert is, in my opinion, by far the most important contemporary German social philosopher. He is equally important as a student of epistemology, especially the epistemology of the social sciences. I say “in my opinion” because, first, I do not of course know all German books and papers published in the field and, secondly, because my judgment, though well considered, may be biased. It is not, however, biased by the fact that he agrees with most (though not all) I have written, or that he claims to have learned much from me: there are others who claim the same...

  4. Preface to the American Edition
    (pp. xi-xxiv)
  5. Translator’s Note
    (pp. xxv-2)
    Mary Varney Rorty
  6. INTRODUCTION. Rationality and Commitment
    (pp. 3-11)

    Shortly after the Second World War there was a temptation for competent observers of the philosophical scene to speak of three spheres of philosophical thought, each relatively closed and geographically easily definable. There was scarcely any discussion between them because dominant trends were from the beginning so very different that mutual understanding seemed almost impossible.¹ In the Anglo-Saxon sphere the analytical trend in philosophy appeared finally to have prevailed and whoever was disinclined to make the effort of constructing a more differentiated picture tended to speak of the dominance of positivism. On the Western European continent and in areas influenced...

  7. ONE The Problem of Foundation
    (pp. 12-38)

    Whoever seeks to grasp the nature of knowledge or to distinguish genuine knowledge and true understanding from mere opinions, assumptions, or subjective views, will very quickly come up against a problem which is normally regarded as a central—if notthecentral—problem of epistemology:the problem of foundation. This problem appears to be of particular importance for the sciences, for they are considered by virtue of their procedures and their results to be a model for all of human knowledge. They generate knowledge purported to be more systematic than everyday knowledge, more methodologically secure and especially solid in its...

  8. TWO The Idea of Criticism
    (pp. 39-70)

    Classical methodology, as expressed in the epistemology of classical rationalism in both its intellectualist and empiricist variants, as we have seen, was based upon a methodological version of the principle of sufficient reason—on the idea, that is, that every view, every conviction, every belief must be justified through reference to positive, certain grounds, to an unshakable foundation. In order to avoid circularity or infinite regress, however, it was necessary to fall back upon some kind of ultimate and indubitable “givens,” the certainty of which can best be made plausible by invoking their revelatory character. The process of justification must...

  9. THREE Knowledge and Decision
    (pp. 71-101)

    In our analysis of the problem of knowledge we have now reached the general problem of value, which from our present perspective presents itself at first as the problem of the relationship between knowledge and decision. This problem, in the form in which it must be tackled today, seems to have emerged relatively recently. One may presume that in early times it was not stated in that form because the natural value-Platonism of the everyday view of the world tends, by a linguistic fusion of values and facts, to transpose the problem of decision to the level of cognition,¹ and...

  10. FOUR Mind and Society
    (pp. 102-131)

    The genesis of the problem of ideology can be traced back to the insight occurring in various conceptions that the problem of knowledge has a social dimension. This fact, for which the phrase “the mutual involvement of thought and being” (Seinsverbundenheit des Denkens) was coined not so long ago, provided the inducement, especially under the influence of Marxist ideas, to so intermingle sociological and epistemological questions that from the logical point of view the objection was raised that problems of the genesis of knowledge were not being kept sufficiently separate from problems of its validity. This objection was offered with...

  11. FIVE Faith and Knowledge
    (pp. 132-164)

    Although the idea of critical examination seems to be gaining ground in today’s philosophical thinking, and justificationalism, in its cruder forms, is generally discredited, there is at the same time a strong tendency to restrict the application of the critical method to selected areas, while retaining older thought patterns and methods in others. There are attempts to protect certain areas against the encroachment of critical points of view, or to allow only their limited application, while in other areas of thought they are given a free rein; it is almost as if in some cases the approximation of truth or...

  12. SIX Meaning and Reality
    (pp. 165-198)

    Modern theology, as we have seen, basically draws its support with respect to methodology from ideas developed and elaborated by hermeneutical philosophy. This school of philosophical thought has always had very little contact with the natural sciences and their methods; but it has had strong associations with the humanistic or cultural sciences, helping them to clarify their presuppositions and methods and to develop a methodological separatism whose traces are still evident today. Its dominating problematic has always been the problem ofmeaning; the methodology they sought to develop to solve their problems was a doctrine ofunderstanding, and the phenomena...

  13. SEVEN The Problem of a Rational Politics
    (pp. 199-230)

    It does not normally occur to those who read the investigations of representatives of modern analytical or existential philosophy that there might be more than a mere psychological connection between philosophical positions and political beliefs. That Marxism openly tries to establish such a connection makes it rather suspicious in the eyes of the proponents of “pure” philosophical thought. Yet such a connection can almost always be found,¹ although the “purer” the philosophy—that is, the more it has degenerated into esoteric exercises for academic specialists—the more this connection fades and recedes into the background, it becomes apudendum. Insofar...

  14. Indexes
    (pp. 231-240)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 241-241)