Diogenes
“ST. CYRIL AND ST. METHODIUS” UNIVERSITY OF VELIKO TARNOVO - UNIVERSITY PRESS

Georg-Henrik von Wright’s Theory of the Crisis of Reason. The Role of Powerless Optimism and Provocative Pessimism as Modus Vivendi


Authors:
Silviya Serafimova

Pages: 395-415

Abstract:

G.-H. von Wright used to warn against the consequences of the crisis of reason to human condition. Inspired by the ideas of Aristotle, M. Weber, Horkheimer and Adorno, he elaborated the issue of how overcoming the crisis of reason requires providing a philosophical critique of the role of reason itself. As an important feature of this critique, I would point out the way von Wright modifies the idea of goodness in respect with accepting or denying a given type of rationality, insofar as the latter concerns our “attempts at orientation” in the world in von Wright’s sense. In this context, I will analyze how what the Finnish philosopher calls powerless optimism and provocative pessimism are two mutually dependent modus vivendi.

Keywords:

Georg-Henrik von Wright, the crisis of reason, instrumental and technical goodness, instrumental rationality, value rationality, moderate optimism, powerless optimism, provocative pessimism.

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