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Russellian Retreat
Russellscher Rückzug – Russellian Retreat
Russell Literatur
Die skeptische Argumentation hat zwei Stoßrichtungen: gegen das Wissen und gegen die gerechtfertigte Überzeugung. Dabei ist die zweite Stoßrichtung radikaler.
Manche Skeptiker verlangen für Wissen absolute Gewissheit und die sei unerreichbar (Dancy 2003, S. 8-9). Gegen diese Art von skeptische Herausforderung kann man den
Russellschen Rückzug – „Russellian Retreat” (Wright 1991, S. 88) antreten. Er stützt sich auf  eine Kohärenzposition Bertrand Russells, die dieser am Ende des Kapitels 2 in The Problems of Philosophy expliziert:
 „Philosophy should show us the hierarchy of our instinctive beliefs, beginning with those we hold most strongly, and presenting each as much isolated and as free from irrelevant additions as possible. It should take care to show that, in the form in which they are finally set forth, our instinctive beliefs do not clash, but form a harmonious system. There can never be any reason for rejecting one instinctive belief except that it clashes with others; thus, if they are found to harmonize, the whole system becomes worthy of acceptance.

It is of course possible that all or any of our beliefs may be mistaken, and therefore all ought to be held with at least some slight element of doubt. But we cannot have reason to reject a belief except on the ground of some other belief. Hence, by organizing our instinctive beliefs and their consequences, by considering which among them is most possible, if necessary, to modify or abandon, we can arrive, on the basis of accepting as our sole data what we instinctively believe, at an orderly systematic organization of our knowledge, in which, though the possibility of error remains, its likelihood is diminished by the interrelation of the parts and by the critical scrutiny which has preceded acquiescence.

This function, at least, philosophy can perform. Most philosophers, rightly or wrongly, believe that philosophy can do much more than this—that it can give us knowledge, not otherwise attainable, concerning the universe as a whole, and concerning the nature of ultimate reality. Whether this be the case or not, the more modest function we have spoken of can certainly be performed by philosophy, and certainly suffices, for those who have once begun to doubt the adequacy of common sense, to justify the arduous and difficult labours that philosophical problems involve.” (Russell 1998 [1912], S. 12)
Russellscher Rückzug  – „Russellian Retreat”
Der Russellsche Rückzug gesteht dem Skeptiker zu, dass Wissen unerreichbar ist, besteht aber darauf, dass man gerechtfertigte Überzeugungen in vielen Bereichen haben kann. Der Rückzug auf gerechtfertigte Überzeugungen ohne Wissensanspruch ist damit vom Skeptiker sehr viel schwieriger anzugreifen. Insbesondere kann man beanspruchen gerechtfertigt davon überzeugt sein, dass man nicht träumt (Wright 1991, S. 94). Das skeptische Traumargument René Descartes greift nicht mehr.
Nicht alle halten diesen Rückzug für klug oder angemessen:
„This reflects a mistake about the nature of knowledge and its normative significance. None of us can take comfort in the thought that we’re justified in holding our beliefs once we’ve been forced to concede that we shouldn’t believe what we do. This is precisely what the Russellian Retreat amounts to.” (Littlejohn S. 294)
Dancy, Jonathan (2003): An Introduction to Contemporary Epistemology. Malden, MA, USA: Blackwell.
Littlejohn, Clayton (2013): „The Russellian Retreat”. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 113:3, S. 293-320.
Russell, Bertrand (1998): The Problems of Philosophy. [1912] Oxford, New York: Oxford UP.
Wright, Crispin (1991): „Scepticism and Dreaming. Imploding the Demon”. Mind 100:397, S. 87-116.

Russellian Retreat
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© by Herbert Huber, Am Fröschlanger 15, 83512 Wasserburg, Germany, 27.1.2015