Rational Reflection Examined


CALL: 2018

DOMAIN: ID - Humanities and Social Sciences


LAST NAME: Hofmann



HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg

KEYWORDS: Reflection, rationality, epistemology, concepts, mind, self-consciousness

START: 2018-12-01

END: 2019-03-31

WEBSITE: https://www.uni.lu

Submitted Abstract

The project is located at the heart of theoretical philosophy, with some relevance to practical philosophy as well. The goal of the project is to critically assess the powers and limitations of rational reflection, where ‘rational reflection’ is understood as the human capacity of self-consciously attaining knowledge or self-knowledge in a more or less armchair, quasi-apriori way. Arguably, it is a capacity that distinctively characterizes human personhood. With the help of rational reflection human beings can sometimes successfully improve their views and, ideally, acquire some kind of knowledge or self-knowledge. A classification schema for the space of possible flaws and shortcomings as well as the potential benefits needs to be worked out. In addition, various challenges coming from contemporary empirical research about human psychology have to be interpreted, critically assessed and taken into account, such as the hypothesis of the adaptive unconscious, empirical evidence concerning implicit biases and belief perseverance. The overall aim is to develop an account of human rational reflection that is conceptually and empirically up-to-date and adequate. The project’s orientation is fully foundational, and its method is the standard method of conceptual clarification and theory construction as it is used in contemporary systematic analytic philosophy. Furthering our theoretical understanding of rational reflection, arguably a particularly complex aspect of the human mind, is its overall goal.

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