International Conference 2012

Abstracts Detail

Philosophers are from Venus, Social Scientists are from Mars. How Can Their Normative- Empirical Dialogue in Justice Research Work?

Joerg Chet Tremmel

University of Tübingen

Academia is divided into disciplinary departments – and rightly so! Specialisation and identity- building classification are indispensable conditions for good scientific work, even if they appear to make interdisciplinary discourse difficult at first. This unavoidable quandary, however, can and should be compensated for later on in the process. The real world’s big, open questions and problems do not conform to neatly drawn disciplinary borders. The particularly interesting answers are frequently those that transcend subject-specific terminology and the mental block posed by disciplinary boundaries (Jungert 2010). „Bilingualism“, „building bridges“, „boundary transgression“, „looking at the world through different glasses“ and „plotting new maps of knowledge“ (Repko 2008, 22-25) are all more or less correct metaphors for interdisciplinary research.

In my talk I will use the example of ‘justice research’ to show how fruitful the cooperation between philosophy and social sciences could be. The ensuing epistemological questions will also be addressed.

In addition to normative justice research, which has existed since ancient times, a new field called ‘empirical justice research’ has been established over the past decades. Normative justice research seeks a notion of justice that can be applied universally, beyond subjective viewpoints. Normative theories of justice are based on the conviction that an intersubjective consensus on justice can be achieved under certain conditions. A decisive characteristic of moral judgements, norms, and principles or, in short, of the ‘moral point of view’ is its impartiality. Whoever makes a moral judgement is not guided by his/her own interest, but attaches the same weight to the interests of all.