für Praktische Philosophie
PhD Students and Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter
Xi Chen, M.A.
Stephan Schweitzer, M.A.
Student Assistants and Teaching Assistants
Practical philosophers muse over the way people act and live. They ask what counts as a sound method to describe and to explain actions – and, more importantly, on which grounds actions, preferences, or social arrangements deserve classifying as right or wrong, good or bad, wise or unwise.
Major branches of practical philosophy include
- action theory;
- the theory of practical reason and rational decision-making;
- metaethics and theoretical ethics;
- applied ethics (e.g., bioethics, business ethics);
- philosophy of law;
- political philosophy.
Practical philosophy overlaps with …
- logic where it considers the form and structure of norms, preferences, values;
- metaphysics and epistemology where it considers the nature and knowability of value;
- the philosophy of mind where it considers pleasure and pain, desires, affects, moral sentiments;
- applied philosophy – but the two are by no means the same. Large parts of practical philosophy are rather unapplied (see the foundational issues listed below), while some parts of theoretical philosophy are rather applied (think, for example, of ontologists who help designing data-bases).
Practical philosophy in Saarbrücken
Practical philosophy is a vast field, historically and systematically. We try to cover a lot of that ground, but give priority to some issues over others. The emphasis is on foundational questions in theoretical ethics and the theory of practical reason. Here are examples of such questions: What does it mean to say that an action or the attitude that underlies it meets, or fails to meet, the requirements of morality or of rationality? What are acceptable general principles for such assessments, and how do we argue for them? What is it for a life to go well? Are there reasons to do what, morally speaking, would be the right thing to do? What is an adequate logic of moral obligation or of rational preference?