Modern Morality?


The text, written together with Ludger Jansen, is a contribution to a discussion with Ernst Tugendhat which followed the first of the "Münster Lectures in Philosophy", which he gave in 1998.

Tugendhat's distinction between traditional and modern morality is called into question. The distinctive feature of modern morality is supposed to be that it is justifiable to everyone concerned with respect to objective reasons. But what are objective reasons ("sachliche Gründe")? What counts as them seems to depend on the cultural context. So in order to show why some reasons are objective and others only seem to be so we need a theory of science which tells us what may count as facts. But is such a theory of science available? And, if so, would its plausibility not depend on our cultural background again? So far, the concept of modern morality does not help to address the most important question of morality in our time: How can we justify rules if those concerned by them are from very different cultural backgrounds?

The text was published together with a reply by Ernst Tugendhat.


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