Comprehensively Critical Rationalism

J. W. N. Watkinsa1

a1 The London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London

In his book The Retreat to Commitment Professor Bartley raised an important problem: can rationalism (meaning by this something that contrasts, not with empiricism, but with irrationalism) can rationalism be held in a rational way, that is, in a way that complies with its own requirements? Or is there bound to be something irrational in the rationalist's position?

Briefly, Hartley's answer was that an element of irrationalism is involved in extant versions of rationalism; however, Bartley proposed a new version of rationalism that can, he claimed, be held in a way that is rational according to its own account of rationality. Bartley called this ‘Comprehensively Critical Rationalism’. (Being a bit of a mouthful, this is often abbreviated to ‘CCR’, a practice I will follow.)