Rationality, Judgment, and Critical Inquiry

Paul Healy


[0] In an insightful recent work, Harold Brown has revealed the shortcomings of the classical rule-governed (foundationalist) concept of rationality, and has sketched the groundplan for a new model which does greater justice to the findings of recent research in the history and philosophy of science. Particularly worthwhile features of the new model are its vindication of the (generally ignored but crucial) role of judgment in inquiry, the social (intersubjective) basis of rational decision-making, and the contextual and historically conditioned nature of evidence assessment. Taking these aspects of Brown's analysis as its starting point, the present paper seeks to provide additional arguments in support of his conclusions, while refining and expanding Brown's thesis at points at which his arguments are found wanting. I begin with consideration of the case for judgment as an intrinsic component of critical inquiry.