Lauener Foundation for Analytical Philosophy
Friday 10 September 2004
1st International Lauener Symposium on Analytical Philosophy
in honour of Professor Patrick Suppes
Prof. Dr. Dagfinn Føllesdal
The Emergence of Justification in Ethics
During the first half part of the twentieth century it was quite common among philosophers, ranging from the logical empiricists to existentialists like Sartre and Heidegger, to regard ethics as beyond rational justification. These tendencies are found even today, mostly among scientists who have not followed the developments in philosophy, but also among postmodernists and some other philosophers who seem to be unaware of what is going on in philosophy today. In this lecture we will see how the picture has changed from the early part of the century to now. Central figures in this development have been Nelson Goodman, Israel Scheffler and John Rawls. However, many of their ideas were interestingly anticipated by earlier philosophers, notably Edmund Husserl. The lecture will focus on the issues rather than on the people. Its aim is to give a fairly accurate picture of the present situation with regard to justification in ethics.