chapter  3
30 Pages


First of all, it should be noted that the trilemma situation, reconstructed by Albert, mainly addresses the procedure, executed in every justificationist philosophy, to verify an empirical statement, an empirical theory. He who wants to demonstrate his statement to be true, can deduce the truth of his statement from pre-assumptions, which in turn deduce their truth from previous pre-assumptions, and so forth, ad infinitum. Instead of pursuing this infinite regression, he can also stop and choose between two other options. One option is to deduce the truth of the statement from another statement, whose truth is already based on the truth of the statement to be proven. Doing so, includes, obviously, a logical circle. The final remaining

option is a dogmatic stopping point. In this case the truth of the statement is deduced from a statement, which truth is claimed to be evident and, hence, would not require further proof. Albert’s reconstruction allows also for some conclusions regarding procedures of deducing norms. Not all derivations of norms need to end in a regressus infinitus. Some may end in a dogma, others in a logical circle. Perhaps, the most well known example of circular norm derivation is Joseph Heller’s novel Catch-22.2 Dogmatic claims, too, should not be unknown to the reader. Authoritarian regimes use this technique quite often. Several religious communities, too, favor that mode of reasoning to dogmatize their belief systems. Summarizing these results with those of Section 1.1.3ff., concerning the impossibility of deducing normative propositions from analytic or empirical propositions, we can conclude that the justification of norms faces two general difficulties:

1 Norms are not logically deducible from non-normative propositions. 2 Norms are logically deducible from normative propositions, but the

modes of derivation cause irresolvable problems.3