Why do people think morals are facts?

Markus Gabriel's ethics bestseller on the corona crisis

A slap


The shooting star of German philosophy, Markus Gabriel, has written a book on the current “crisis”. It is entitled “Moral Progress in Dark Times. Universal values ​​for the 21st century ", which one can consider presumptuous or self-confident (on 08/20/2020 on the Spiegel bestseller list place 6, tendency rising).

In his book Gabriel defends moral realism, i.e. the thesis that there are moral facts, the existence of which is independent of human opinions, valuations, etc. Nevertheless, according to Gabriel, all moral facts are recognizable to us. He therefore wants a "develop philosophical toolkits for solving moral problems"(16), thus contribute to" moral progress "and help humanity - in the face of pandemics, climate catastrophes, renaissance of authoritarian regimes, nationalism, economic inequality, digitization and much more. - to protect against an "abyss of unimaginable dimensions".

The fact that the tools in the box remain blunt, to say it in advance, has above all to do with the fact that Gabriel, despite the enormously high opinion he holds of himself, is a careless thinker. To stay in the picture, his formulations and explanations of terms are not sophisticated, but rather ambiguous, imprecise and contradictory;

Sloppy language

Even the first two sentences of the script are typical of Gabriel's style. They read plausibly at first, but collapse as soon as you take a closer look: “There's a lot of excitement. The values ​​of freedom, equality and solidarity that have been taken for granted in recent decades since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 seem to have shaken uncontrollably. "(9)

who took the values ​​of freedom, equality and solidarity for granted? Germans, Europeans, members of the western world, earth dwellers? The textile worker from Bangladesh? The escrow manager? What did they take for granted? The existence of said values? That one should strive after them? That they guide action for governments and individuals? What exactly faltered? The values? Belief in the values? The political implementation of the values? When whatever faltered? “In the last few decades since 1989 at the latest”? Doesn't such an indication make sense if only under the condition that "since 1989 at the latest" is set off with commas?

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of such sentences in the book. Just two examples on the following pages:

"In order to save human lives, [...] [during the pandemic] the neoliberal assumption that market logic was the top priority in society was suspended." (10)

How can logic be a commandment? The market logic too consequences or to to obey, may be a commandment. But which author, whether neoliberal or not, has ever claimed, let alone put it into effect as an assumption, to let the market run free, is the "highest social imperative" - ​​and not just one consequence from individual rights and / or the appropriate medium to achieve certain social goals?

"In view of the conditions of the modern division of labor and the confusion of the complex global production chains, we need a global 'spirit of trust', i.e. more of what we commonly call 'solidarity'." (11)

One of the many places where Gabriel presents a steep thesis as obviously true without providing the slightest justification for it. I trust my doctor, you could almost say that I am inspired by a “spirit of trust” in him, but that does not mean that I would be in solidarity with him in the event of a bankruptcy. And why can't I show solidarity in the common sense with an unjustly accused colleague or the exploited textile worker, even without trusting that they would show the same solidarity with me in the opposite direction?

Moral facts as category errors

Surely Gabriel will take a little more care when introducing his key concepts, right? “Something that we as human beings should or should not do, I shall refer to as moral fact“ (12).

Hmm Something we are supposed to do as humans is one plot. But an action is not a fact. Least of all, an act that I have yet to do is not a fact. You can see that at the latest when I decide not to act. That I'm supposed to do something, not that What I'm supposed to do is a moral fact - if one is to accept moral facts at all.

The one for the understanding of moral realism, the subject of his book, most important Gabriel introduced the term with the help of a category error! But that's just the introduction. In the main part, Gabriel will certainly clear up the confusion:

"A fact is an objective truth. […] But there are also facts in the area of ​​values ​​- moral facts. Many today believe, implicitly or explicitly, that there are no moral facts, that is, it is not objectively established what we should do for moral reasons in a given situation and what we should not do. "(46f.)

Let's break that apart. First: What is an objectively existing truth for Gabriel? I'm not exactly sure - how could you? - but tap on the following: A true sentence (proposition, factual situation), the truth of which does not depend on what individuals, groups, cultures or the like believe (cf. 33, also 16). There is also subjective existing truths, i.e. sentences whose truth depends on what people believe? If not, why doesn't Gabriel just say “A fact is a truth?” Here is a candidate for a subjectively existing truth: “Christian believes that humility is a virtue”. The proposition is true and its truth depends on what individuals believe. But it is also one factthat Christian believes that humility is a virtue. So it is wrong that something is a fact if and only if it is a lens existing truth (in Gabriel's sense) is. We cannot avoid recognizing that facts are simply true propositions (propositions, states of affairs).

What does it mean that “in the realm of values” there “are” (moral) facts? Well, when the supermarket announcer announces that the Mega super crunchies can be found in the food sector, I can assume that Mega super crunchies are a food. So are moral facts values? That cannot be - even if Gabriel sometimes asserts the opposite (170) - because, as we have seen, facts are true sentences, but values ​​are definitely not true sentences. Gabriel must therefore be understood as analogous to a scientist who says: “In the realm of the elements there are chemical truths.” Sure, a chemist would not talk like that, but which chemist is a bestselling author? For Gabriel there are moral facts "in the [spatial, conceptual, metaphysical?] Realm of values" without them being values ​​themselves. Perhaps Gabriel, who is at war with the German language, just means: basedon the realm of values ​​there are moral truths? You can't know. Out of all this mess, have we understood anything better about moral facts or values? I do not mean.

Further: Gabriel assumes that because facts always exist "objectively", moral facts, if they exist at all, also exist objectively. But since the assumption of the assumption is wrong, Gabriel needs a different justification for the objectivity of moral facts. But he does not deliver that (at least here). Nor has he shown that if a person believes that (in the Gabrielese sense) it is never objectively certain what we should do for moral reasons in a given situation, he is also committed to believing that there are no moral facts. (Notabene: What is the difference between "implicit" and "explicit" Believe should be, is also very much in need of explanation, but is nowhere explained.)

Let's jump back to the introduction:

"Moral facts register general claims affecting all people and define criteria by which our behavior is to be assessed." (12)

What the heck does it mean that a fact announces something, or that a fact defines criteria? Is that a rhetorical figure? If so, I don't understand. Another question that arises: Are there any moral facts that relate to a very specific situation: e.g. "Christian shouldn't lie to his wife on August 13th, 2020 about what he did the day before"? If there are such moral facts (my wife means “yes” by the way), it would be wrong to say that moral facts (always) “the claims all Affect people ”. Gabriel mentions as examples of moral facts (40) among other things "that one should protect the environment", even "that one should not push ahead". But such should-be statements certainly do not apply without exception. It is certainly not a moral fact “that you shouldn't push yourself ahead”, but at most “that you shouldn't push yourself ahead as long as there are no predominant moral reasons for doing so.” Such subtleties, distinctions, modifications make effort, of course, but effort , is not Gabriel's thing.

"Moral facts divide our deliberate, rationally controllable actions into good and bad actions, between which the area of ​​the morally neutral lies, that is, the area of ​​what is allowed." (12)

The area of ​​the morally neutral is therefore the area of ​​the permitted. Hence that is morally commanded not allowed. Certainly Gabriel just forgot to add "that which allows, but is not required“, Right? By no means, it is to be completely serious:

"The good [...], that is, what is simply required, is not allowed in this sense, because something is only allowed if you can do it or not do it." (43)

Let's say I'm trying to find out Anna's ethical position on euthanasia. I ask: “Is it morally permissible to offer euthanasia to a terminally ill patient?” Anna: “No, it is not allowed.” If Gabriel were right, I would still be in the dark about Anna's position, because it could be both that she was it is forbidden, as well as, that she considers it necessary to offer euthanasia. Such a result is absurd.

Confusion of values

Let us turn to another term that is central to Gabriel's concern, that of the Worth. Here is the passage from the introduction where he introduces it.

“These three areas - the good, the neutral, and the bad - are the ethical values, the validity of which is universal, that is, across cultures and times. "(12f.)

First of all, it needs at least some explanation to speak of values ​​as areas. My blood alcohol level lies although in a certain area, is but no area. More importantly, Gabriel claims here that it is just gives three ethical values, but naturally speaks in the course of the book of everything possible as "moral" value. In the end, does he mean that while there are only three ethical values, there are many moral values? That can hardly be because Gabriel from the Good ones e.g. also as "extreme pole on the moral Skala “speaks (43; m. Herv.). It is more likely that, although Gabriel introduces the difference between ethics and morality with some fanfare (41f.), He uses the terms “ethical value” and “moral value” interchangeably. And that when Gabriel explicitly says that there are exactly three ethical values, he does not mean that there are exactly three ethical values.

Gabriel: “Before we can deal with concrete moral questions […], we have to clarify […] terms. Because when our concepts are unclear and vague, it is easy to make logical mistakes. We then fail to formulate well-founded and, at best, true and coherent opinions. "(41)

How about that relationship of moral facts and values? For Gabriel, values ​​are not just “areas”, they are above all “assessment criteria” (44; also 14). When we "morally judging by applying recognizable standards, we fall back on moral facts ”, the“ moral guard rails of human behavior [i.e. moral facts !?] are “the source of universal values” (16). On p. 120 it says of course: "Values ​​work [...] like guard rails". So values ​​work like guard rails and are their source in guard rails? Gabriel apparently thinks this is illuminating.

The following should also apply: “The evaluation of actions with regard to whether they fall into the realm of good, neutral or evil, relates to moral and non-moral facts and classifies them [...] into one of these value ranges "(44).

Which came first: the moral facts or the values? Are moral facts the source of moral values ​​or are it values ​​that determine whether a moral fact is good, neutral or bad? More importantly, how can a moral fact at all be "sorted into a range of values" if the paradigmatic cases of moral facts that Gabriel mentions are exclusively supposed statements? A supposed statement may be true or false, but it is certainly not good or bad. That not to torture innocent people is not good or bad, it just is. The same applies to evaluative sentences. That Avarice is bad is not bad in itself. Does Gabriel think a sentence like "Every year thousands die of hunger and war" is angry moral Fact? However, this path is closed to him, since the area of ​​moral values ​​also includes the neutral, consequently nothing remains at all Not-Moral facts left more. It therefore looks as if a moral fact cannot reasonably be “sorted” into any value range. Paradoxically, moral facts (should and value statements) themselves have no moral value, while conversely, non-moral facts (“thousands die of hunger”) often have such a value. Has Gabriel possibly stumbled upon the language here and the little word “this” should not refer to “moral and non-moral facts” but to “actions”? Then the resulting statement "The evaluation of actions with regard to whether they fall into the range of good, neutral or evil [...] sorts actions into one of these value ranges" would be quite redundant. (See also 165, where again moral Facts are "sorted" into the three areas.)

“What is morally simply commanded is the good” (43). The good is a value, values ​​are standards of assessment, so a certain standard of assessment is simply required. Is this way of speaking understandable? Not without further ado. Gabriel probably thinks that it is simply necessary to use a certain standard suffice or to correspond. Furthermore: "That which is morally forbidden by layer is evil" (43). Evil is also a value, and consequently a standard of judgment that it is simply forbidden to conform to; the neutral is another standard that is neither prohibited nor required to comply with. But why should one three Adopt standards of judgment instead of one single Scale whose application yields three possible outcomes? Do you judge righteous acts by a different standard than unjust acts? That seems absurd. If, like Gabriel (but unlike Plato, for example) one considers not only the good and just, but also the evil and the unjust to be values, one cannot therefore say that values ​​are judgments. At best, they are what one ascertains through the application of assessment criteria and ascribes actions or states.

Moral facts are known by knowing them

Let us come to the question of whether and how values ​​and moral facts are recognized.

"The objectively existing moral facts are essentially recognizable by us, that is, spirit-dependent." (33)

The apple tree in my garden is recognizable, but not mind-dependent. The fact that we classify the plant as an “apple tree” may be spirit-dependent, but not the so-called plant itself. “Good, but the apple tree in your garden is too essential recognizable? ”I think so: if it weren't recognizable, it wouldn't be my apple tree. Even more: what is not recognizable cannot be an apple tree. “If tomorrow an epidemic wiped out all of humanity, but spared apple trees, the apple tree would be unrecognizable become, right? “Why? It was recognized before the plague, so it is recognizable too. “Okay, but you have to admit that there are possible scenarios in which nobody would have recognized your apple tree. ”Yes, but it does not follow from this that there are also possible scenarios in which the apple tree unrecognizable is. That it is recognizable only means that it is possible that it will be recognized.

By “substantially recognizable” Gabriel must mean something stronger if he wants to infer spirit dependence from essential recognizability. But what? Perhaps that moral facts do not exist as long as there is no one to see them? But that seems impossible, since Gabriel also claims that moral facts "always apply" (e.g. 40). But we don't want to be petty, maybe he just means that they always apply, ever since humans have existed (cf. 170)? That would mean, however, that sentences or propositions expressing moral facts have their truth value to change, depending on whether people exist or not. With this Gabriel would not only be committed to an extremely controversial linguistic-philosophical position, he would also have to admit that the true sentence "to wipe out mankind with a hydrogen bomb is morally reprehensible" would be wrong (or untrue) as soon as someone successful was in wiping out humanity. Which one moral realist want to say something like that?

Our knowledge of moral facts is fallible. "A knowledge claim is fallibel, that is, error-prone if you claim something with it, which can also be wrong, and you have no compelling reasons to redeem the claim. "(44)

Let's be fair, that's almost a precise definition by Gabriel's standards. Unfortunately, the word “can” is notoriously ambiguous. Under time pressure, I calculate in my head “96 x 52 = 4,992”. My mental arithmetic skills (especially under pressure) are undoubtedly fallible, but does it mean that “96 x 52 = 4,992” can also be wrong? By no means, my claim to know that “96 x 52 = 4,992” is prone to errors and yet can it does not turn out (at least in a certain sense of “can”) that “96 x 52 = 4,992” is wrong. Mathematical propositions are, if they are true, necessarily true. Defining “fallibility” is much more tricky than Gabriel imagines. I won't do the work for him here.

On pp. 165–170 Gabriel deals with the question: “How can we recognize moral facts?” His introduction:

“[It] gives the impression that in the end we [...] never really know what to do. But that would be fatal, as it would mean that our moral thinking leaves us in the lurch when it is needed. "

Wait a minute ... Didn't Gabriel just now claim that our moral knowledge is fallible? In view of this fact, should we not be extremely careful with the claim with certainty to know what to do? Why would such reluctance be “fatal”? To claim to know is one thing. To claim something with certainty to know a completely different one. And why does our moral reflection "fail" if it never or seldom leads us to certainty? Often times (even on moral issues) it is more appropriate to admit that you are unsure of something. A thought that is alien to Gabriel, of course.

Gabriel had previously listed "moral matters" that he claims to be “(Almost) everyone einlicht [n] without much thought ”(155; m. Herv.), including:“ Consensual homosexual intercourse is morally neutral ”. Almost everyone, exactly. The other supposedly self-evident suffer from the fact that Gabriel hides any context; e.g. "Investing money to promote climate protection is good". Is it still good to invest even if you've embezzled the money beforehand? Or what if you could use the same money to pay for health insurance for your employees or to eradicate the malaria pathogen? Gabriel occasionally mentions the so-called "problem of description of ethics" (161), but he forgets it again just as quickly.

How So do we now recognize moral facts? Gabriel's answer: We just recognize them. “[M] oral facts [are] essentially obvious; It is therefore in principle, even if often not without great difficulty, recognizable what we should do. ”(168) Moral truths are“ essentially ”, that is, apart from rare exceptions,“ obvious ”and yet they are“ often ”not recognizable without great difficulty. Our author at the height of his art.

I have to stop here. To say that Gabriel's reflections on the fundamentals of morality and moral knowledge leave many questions unanswered would be a euphemism. You are a disaster.

What about the rest of the book? It is, in large part, written in an editorial style, full of allegations and thin on arguments. But I can't go over this in detail here. I do not want to withhold a few of Gabriel’s most delicious mistakes from the reader. I am listing them in loose order.

History of ideas

The "Philosophical hermeneutics" is identified by Gabriel in sovereign misunderstanding of 2000 years of philosophy history with the "theory of understanding of the Heidelberg philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer" (228). Sartre he ascribes the sentence "If God did not exist, everything would be permitted" (47). Only that the sentence (or a version of it) is from Dostoyevsky. Gabriel on Kant: “The basic idea of ​​the universalization formula [of the categorical imperative; CW] says that the way of life that we individually and collectively arrange for ourselves falls into the good spectrum of moral values ​​only if it is compatible with the fact that all people participate in the good. "(147) One can no longer even explain what is wrong with the explanation, because nothing, absolutely nothing, is right about it. Peter Singer is not doing any better. He is credited with the view that we are “compelled for moral reasons to put the interests of our own species behind those of other species” (322), although Singer expressly does not consider the concept of species to be an ethically relevant category. It gets even more absurd when Gabriel Singer accuses “biologically anchored identity politics”, “which would follow the pattern of compensating living beings who have suffered or are suffering from us by causing us to suffer ourselves now”. (322) Needless to say, Gabriel does not provide any evidence to support this ludicrous assumption. Richard Dawkins is asserted (again with no credentials) that "the meaning of our individual lives is nothing other than the distribution of our genes through reproduction" (323), although Dawkins did this dozen of times (and rightly) as a malicious misunderstanding of himself Rejected position. And so on and so on…


Does Gabriel know more about world politics? Not really. He lists: "Donald Trump [...] Viktor Mihály Orbán, Jarosław Aleksander Kaczyński and many other heads of state" (17). Gabriel doesn't forget a first name or accent, not even the "ł", only that the gray Eminence Kaczyński was never the Polish head of state, he doesn't know that (Kaczyński was ministerial for a short time, but never president).

The American theologian and Sanders campaigner Cornel West is quoted by Gabriel as saying: “A neo-fascist believes that the rule of big military and big money divides people according to their skin color, their class, their sexual orientation, their religion and non-religion in order to to ensure that we fall upon each other instead of confronting the elites at the top ”(246). To me that sounds - even if one can argue about the expression "neo-fascism" - like an accurate diagnosis of current US politics. Not so for Gabriel: "This argument takes back the announced universalism in a few steps and pleads for a struggle of the supposed masses against the business elite, so that West divides people into conflict groups just like his opponent Trump, who is accused of neo-fascism" (246). Gabriel's remark is pure - and not even particularly clever - demagoguery. One cannot be a universalist if, as part of a political movement, one “confronts” the elites at the top and demands that their disproportionate political influence and fair taxation be curtailed? In earnest? Gabriel's attempt to portray West and Bernie Sanders of all people as the spearheads of a (indeed) failed left-wing identity policy and to insinuate a moral equivalence between Trump and the Sanders campaign can immediately be seen as ridiculous by anyone who even campaigns for the US has cursory. Sanders was attacked just because of its universal notion of a good life for, not influenced by class, race, age, sexual orientation, gender or religion all. Other candidates (Buttigieg, Harris, Klobuchar etc.) have played the identity card, but he did not (or only visibly half-heartedly). Sanders even had to justify himself to Buttigieg for having the right to free university education for all wanting to become a permanent fixture - even for the super-rich.

Would you like a taste of Gabriel, the legal philosopher? “This brute example shows that the idea of ​​democracy cannot consist in every minority whose free exercise of will is restricted by institutions (which includes burglars, murderers and constitutional enemies as well as pedo criminals), the moral and legal has a legal right to found a party in order to shift the political guard rails of society ”(50). But, everyone has (in Germany) the right to found a party, even pedo criminals, to fight for legal reforms (such as the impunity of consensual sex with children). Parties may only be banned in Germany if they unconstitutional are what, according to current jurisprudence, is only the case "if [the party] does not recognize the highest principles of a free democratic basic order [...] [and] an active combative, aggressive attitude towards the existing order [t]". A party made up of pedo criminals who peacefully advocates unpunished consensual sex with children is not directed “against the basic democratic order”, and it certainly does not show an “actively combative, aggressive attitude”. Gabriel's example, like almost everything he puts forward in terms of the “theory of the rule of law”, is nonsense.

Gabriel solves unsolved problems

Is it allowed to lie for a greater purpose? Some authors (like Kant) answer no, most answer the question in the affirmative. But they all are mistaken, as Gabriel found out after a moment's reflection: “A lie consists in someone knowingly and intentionally pretending to be something that is false as something that is true (or vice versa) in order to gain an advantage over the person being lied to . The aim of lying is to mislead a person in order to gain advantage. If one says the untruth in order to protect a family that is hiding in the basement from a cruel injustice state, this is not a lie, because it is not about gaining an advantage, but about ensuring the integrity of a family. "(152 ) It is a mystery why no one in the 2500-year history of philosophy has yet come up with this answer. In the end, could it have to do with the fact that the answer is no good? Whoever says something with the intent to deceive what he thinks is wrong is lying. The motives for this is irrelevant. Philosophical problems cannot be solved simply by changing the meaning of words in the German language by means of a declamation.

Even in the dispute about abortion, everyone turns out to be blind, only Gabriel has the perspective: “[It] seems obvious to me that, thanks to modern molecular biology, we know that a fertilized egg cell and also an organized cluster of cells that are quickly after implantation fertilized egg is not yet a human, but a potential human. ”(159) Why has nobody noticed, how much ink and trouble one could have saved! As we know today, such a cell heap does not show a human figure in miniature format that is getting bigger and bigger (160), but is just a cell heap - case solved. But why should being human be based on the typical human figure and not on belonging to the species homo sapiens hang? The millimeter-tall sprout of a sequoia tree belongs to the same species as the full-grown tree and the tiny caterpillar to the same species as the butterfly. What is a "human"? Don't you have to know that before you can judge Gabriel's thesis? He doesn't tell us, but he knows that molecular biology has established that a cluster of cells is not human.

Arguing à la Gabriel

Probably the most common mistake in proseminar papers is the inappropriate use of particles such as “consequently”, “also”, “because”, “so” etc. - a problem that occurs epi-, if not pandemic, for Gabriel. Only three (more), particularly drastic examples from countless:

“[Moral values] apply to all people everywhere and at all times, even if this is not necessarily completely clear to all people. Therefore we can be wrong about values. "(44)

No, not therefore. The local house rules do not apply “everywhere and at all times” and yet I can be mistaken about them.

"As I said, there were Muslims in North America before Protestantism was invented, so it is absurd to get the impression that the USA is in any relevant sense a Protestant project." (261)

Where do you start? First, the US is not North America. Even before the Reformation (1517), Spanish Muslims and Muslim slaves who had been forcibly converted to Christianity settled in the Caribbean, but not in what is now the United States. Second, although there is no evidence whatsoever, Muslims on Spanish expeditions to Florida may have set foot on what is now the US mainland before Luther posted his theses, but there were at most a handful and they did not stay long. And thirdly, and most importantly, what difference should it make to the question of whether the US started as a Protestant project that Muslims lived there 250 years ago? It is like saying that the fact that Jews and Christians lived in the Arabian Peninsula long before Muslims makes it seem "absurd" (Gabriel) to speak of Saudi Arabia as a Muslim country. Something completely different is absurd here.

“In many countries - especially those in which a curfew is imposed - people are viewed as herd animals that are not really capable of making moral decisions. Morality is disregarded in this perspective because the authorities implicitly or explicitly doubt that people are capable of genuine moral insight. That is a more or less mild form of value ihilism. "(47)

No. When the authorities doubt that people are capable of moral insight, they do not neglect morality, they rather assume it. A lack of insight can only exist where something can also be seen. Politicians who, out of a sense of responsibility, take into account the lack of moral understanding of some citizens and accuse them of value ihilism is not only absurd, but also vile.

A riddle remains

To clear up any misunderstandings: I consider myself a moral realist and share many of Gabriel's views, for example regarding the rejection of factory farming, nationalism, postmodernism or the Protestant founding myth of the USA. I also have absolutely nothing against someone writing a popular philosophy book for the general public. BUT IT DOESN'T WORK THAT. Aside from his unbearable complacency and the bottomless quality of the arguments and conceptual analysis, the way Gabriel deals with opponents is also difficult to bear. Those who build up their opponents as cardboard comrades can neither convince them nor learn anything from them. Gabriel leaves nonesingle Well-known moral anti-realists, relativists or right-wing positivists of the present time have their say as if these people were indiscriminately idiots or sinister villains. The most important objections to moral realism do not come across at all or only as cheap caricatures. Opponents from the past (Nietzsche, Heidegger, Schmitt) are not completely suppressed, but their arguments are mutilated. Gabriel allegedly wants to “convince”, not “persuade” (41) and magnanimously pleads for “the principle of forbearance” (141).

Other writings that I know from Gabriel are only marginally better. The bad habit of name droppings and patronizing marks from colleagues whom he cannot hold a candle to is even more pronounced there. So how do you explain the phenomenal success? I dont know. Anyone who appreciates lively reflection on political and ethical problems or is looking for reliable information on philosophical debates will not find what they are looking for in the book. Neither can I imagine that anyone would feel well entertained by the badly mixed brew. The idea that people read Gabriel's work and mistake it for a model of the art of philosophical differentiation is the stuff of nightmares.

In the pool

If someone thinks that one has to look after the carefree and still quite young Rhinelander Gabriel, who has his heart in the right place and by and large fights for a good cause, the following anecdote is recommended for him to think about:

Gabriel likes to go swimming with his little daughter on the weekend and then eat a pizza. However, as the two found out too late, the way to the snack bar inside the pool has recently been blocked for children, as it leads through a swimming pool that is only open to adults. "Well, after a five-minute discussion at the pool counter, my daughter said loudly to the unfriendly and principled cashier that she was a racist against children!" (109) Gabriel bursts with pride in his daughter, even if he admits that that it was of course not racism, but only a "morally reprehensible case of age discrimination against children". He believes that it throws a favorable light on him as a father when his five-year-old girl insults a cashier who works for little more than the minimum wage, who only follows the instructions of the management and risks a warning if she does not do so, as a “racist”. And why? Because as the daughter of a professor, for once, she is deprived of a pleasure that the cashier's children can do without Ageregularly refrain from discrimination.

"Values ​​for the 21st century!"

Christian Weidemann