Reflective Equilibrium 51 years after A Theory of Justice

May 12, 2022 - May 14, 2022
Institute of Philosophy, University of Bern


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  • DebateLab at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • Institute for Future Studies, Stockholm

Main speakers:

University of Iceland
Harvard University
University of Innsbruck
Princeton University
Universität Hannover
Uppsala University
Dartmouth College


University of Bern

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A lasting influence of John Rawls’s seminal A Theory of Justice is the undiminished popularity of reflective equilibrium in ethics. The basic idea is that moral judgements and principles are justified by being brought into agreement in a process of mutual adjustments. Historically, RE goes back to Nelson Goodman, who described reflective equilibrium as a method for justifying logical inferences and theories. Other philosophers have appealed to RE in almost all fields of philosophy, and some consider RE to be the method of philosophy, as notably did David Lewis. Nonetheless, attempts at an in-depth analysis of RE have been scarce, and very few have made a sustained effort to develop the method in detail – which is surprising for such an influential idea.

The aim of this conference is to bring together defenders and detractors of RE from all fields of philosophy and to discuss basic questions, possible developments and applications, as well as challenges and defences.

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May 6, 2022, 9:00am CET

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