Julia Hermann, Jeroen Hopster, Wouter Kalf and Michael Klenk: Philosophy in the Age of Science? Inquiries into Philosophical Progress, Method, and Societal Relevance. Rowman & Littlefield, 2020

Peter Königs
2021 Ethical Theory and Moral Practice  
The edited volume Philosophy in the Age of Science?, a festschrift for Herman Philipse, revolves around three major topics: philosophical progress, philosophical method, and the societal relevance of philosophy. By exploring these three themes with a special focus on their relation to science, the thirteen articles collected in the volume, from both junior and senior philosophers, seek to achieve a better understanding of the place of philosophy in our scientific age. A major merit of the
more » ... is that it provides perspectives from such diverse philosophical disciplines as ethics, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, metaphysics, and phenomenology. It thus offers a welcome breadth of perspective in a time of increasing specialization. Readers of this journal will be particularly interested in the ethical contributions, some of which will be briefly reviewed below. In a chapter that elegantly connects all three overarching themes of this volume, Julia Hermann makes the case for giving context a more prominent role in ethical inquiry. She discusses contexualist perspectives on justice, privacy and risk, adding a twist by arguing that contextualist approaches are particularly well suited to bring about ethical progress and to render ethics relevant for society. Ethics that takes into account contextual concerns is better able to do justice to the dynamic nature of ethics and to provide concrete practical guidance. Wouter Kalf outlines his own theory of conceptual engineering and explores how error theorists, who do not believe in the existence of moral facts, can engage in conceptual engineering for the purpose of philosophical progress. He suggests that the conceptual engineering efforts of error theorists should be guided by the aim of improving prudential wellbeing, a realm of normative discourse that is typically exempt from error-theoretic skepticism. Specifically, he suggests that the term 'morally good' should be engineered in such a way that it moralizes actions that concern non-human animals and the environment, arguing, perhaps surprisingly, that this will advance the prudential interests of those whose actions will be constrained by this re-engineering of 'morally good'.
doi:10.1007/s10677-021-10176-6 fatcat:5a2s2gcylrgfxlv5l5nbffq6v4