The 'Unthinkable' and the 'Merely Wrong': A Pragmatist Investigation

The workshop examines the relation between ethical unthinkability and "mere" (though deep) ethical disagreement. In brief, the boundary between the thinkable and the unthinkable constitutes the area of possible moral discussion. The question arises how we can argue (or use any rational persuasion to convince anyone) that any change in how we draw the thinkability vs. unthinkability boundary ought to take place, if all normative criteria that we can rely on when arguing for anything whatsoever are always, inevitably, internal to forms of life constituted by the way that boundary is conceptualized.

Seminarraum 3


How can any ethical argument redrawing the thinkability vs. unthinkability boundary and thus challenging the received views of our culture ever be plausible within that culture, insofar as cultures, as well as the possibility of distinguishing between morally right and wrong, are partly defined by their drawing such limits in some particular way? A promising approach to responding these questions can be found in an antifoundationalist pragmatist rearticulation of the transcendental status of the thinkability vs. unthinkability distinction.


  • Prof. Dr. Sami Pihlström (Helsinki University)
  • Seraphin Frimmer MA (HFPH)
  • Patricia Schöllhorn-Gaar MA / Leonard Weiß MA (LMU / University of Sheffield)


9.00 Welcome and Introduction

9.15 – 10.30h Sami Pihlström MA: The 'Unthinkable' and the 'Merely Wrong': A Pragmatist Investigation

10.30 - 11h Coffee Break

11.00 – 11.45h Seraphin Frimmer MA: Conflicts of Collective Memory and the Limits of Thinkability

11.45 - 12.30h Patricia Schöllhorn-Gaar MA / Leonard Weiß MA: Who needs Unknowables? Reflections on Kant and John Hick


The workshop is organized in cooperation with the LMU München (Professur für Religionsphilosophie / Sebastian Gäb, Romano-Guardini-Gastprofessur für Religionsphilosopie / Ana Honnacker)

Registration required: