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  • Book
  • Open Access
  • © 2022

Applying Reflective Equilibrium

Towards the Justification of a Precautionary Principle

  • First detailed and explicit application of a comprehensive account of the method of reflective equilibrium

  • Groundbreaking work on the justification of moral principles such as the precautionary principle

  • Provides a methodological framework for researchers who want to apply RE

  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access

Part of the book series: Logic, Argumentation & Reasoning (LARI, volume 27)

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)

Table of contents (9 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xi
  2. Introduction

    • Tanja Rechnitzer
    Pages 1-15Open Access
  3. Theoretical Foundations of Reflective Equilibrium

    • Tanja Rechnitzer
    Pages 17-37Open Access
  4. Precautionary Principles

    • Tanja Rechnitzer
    Pages 63-99Open Access
  5. Case Study, Phase I: Developing a Candidate System

    • Tanja Rechnitzer
    Pages 123-151Open Access
  6. Case Study, Phase II: Focus on the Process of Adjustments

    • Tanja Rechnitzer
    Pages 153-189Open Access
  7. Case Study, Phase III: Reaching a State of Reflective Equilibrium?

    • Tanja Rechnitzer
    Pages 191-226Open Access
  8. Back Matter

    Pages 245-273

About this book

This open access book provides the first explicit case study for an application of the method of reflective equilibrium (RE), using it to develop and defend a precautionary principle. It thereby makes an important and original contribution to questions of philosophical method and methodology. The book shows step-by-step how RE is applied, and develops a methodological framework which will be useful for everyone who wishes to use reflective equilibrium. With respect to precautionary principles, the book demonstrates how a rights-based precautionary principle can be constructed and defended.

The case study succeeds in demonstrating that RE can be successfully applied and puts real constraints on the justification process. This is all the more remarkable as the case study was designed as an open-ended process, without presupposing any specific results. This book will be highly relevant both to people interested in philosophical methodology and epistemology, as well as to researchers who are interested in using philosophical methods and tools and applying them to practical problems.


  • Reflective Equilibrium
  • Precautionary Principle
  • Applying Reflective Equilibrium
  • Philosophical Method
  • Methodology of Ethics
  • Moral Justification
  • Applied Ethics
  • Climate Ethics
  • Decisions under uncertainty
  • Uncertain harm
  • Method and applications of Reflective Equilibrium
  • Developing a Candidate System
  • Process of Adjustments
  • Reaching a State of Reflective Equilibrium
  • Toolbox for Applying Reflective Equilibrium
  • Elgin and reflective equilibrium
  • Baumberger and reflective equilibrium
  • Brun and reflective equilibrium
  • Open Access

Authors and Affiliations

  • Institute of Philosophy, Leibniz University Hannover, Hannover, Germany

    Tanja Rechnitzer

About the author

Tanja Rechnitzer is a philosopher working at the intersection of practical and theoretical philosophy. She is especially interested in how we can make philosophical methods and tools fruitful for practical problems – but also in what we can learn from such practical applications on a theoretical level. Rechnitzer is currently an assistant professor at the Leibniz University Hannover, Germany.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

Softcover Book USD 49.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
Hardcover Book USD 59.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)