John Kekes's A Justification of Rationality PDF

By John Kekes

ISBN-10: 0873953568

ISBN-13: 9780873953566

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Sample text

Because common sense is occasionally inadequate, it has to be improved, and various theories aim at improving it. Such theories, be they scientific, religious, political, or philosophical, may solve the problems that common sense cannot. But no matter how sophisticated the human theoretical approach becomes, the primacy of common sense remains indisputable. For the ultimate test as well as the initial starting point of all theories must be the original problem situation that is composed of common sense and some anomaly or another.

We all follow the scientific method and our activities are graced by success. The difficulty with pragmatism is that it makes it impossible to explain why we are successful. Scientific theories work, but why do they? It cannot be because they reveal how things are. For {a}n alleged statement of the reality of a system of entities is a pseudostatement without cognitive content. To be sure, we have to face at this point an important question; but it is a practical, not a theoretical question. The acceptance cannot be judged as being either true or false, because it is not an assertion.

It can be answered by justifying the practical decision involved in its acceptance: The acceptance cannot be judged as being either true or false because it is not an assertion. It can only be judged as being more or less expedient, fruitful, conducive to the aim for which language is intended. 6 If it is recognized that the justification demanded by the sceptic rests on a misunderstanding, then the lack of theoretical justification of rationality will be regarded as a symptom of the illegitimacy of the sceptical demand, and not as a sign of its profundity.

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A Justification of Rationality by John Kekes

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