Author Archives: pi1ras

Article on Løgstrup, Levinas and Darwall

I am pleased to say that the following article has appeared in print:

‘Levinas, Darwall and Løgstrup on Second-Personal Ethics: Command or Responsibility?’, in Michael L. Morgan (ed),The Oxford Handbook to Levinas (Oxford: Oxford University Press), pp. 303-20

Here is the abstract:

This paper considers the relationship between Levinas’s ethics, and the ‘second-personal’ approach adopted by Stephen Darwall and K. E. Løgstrup. Darwall’s ethics treats the second-personal relation as one of command as an exercise of authority, while K. E. Løgstrup treats the second-personal relation as one of responsibility rather than command. It is argued that Løgstrup raises a fundamental difficulty for any command view, namely that the reason to act on a command is because one has been commanded to do so, where this cannot provide the right reason for a moral action. The paper considers where Levinas should be located in this debate between the two models of second-personal ethics represented by Darwall and Løgstrup. It is suggested that while Levinas’s position reflects elements of both accounts, he is perhaps closer to the command approach, in a way that then makes him vulnerable to Løgstrup’s objections.

Book published

I am pleased to announce that my monograph on Løgstrup has now been published by OUP: The Radical Demand in Løgstrup’s Ethics.

I will also be submitting two new translations to OUP shortly, of The Ethical Demand, and of Løgstrup’s 1950 lectures on Kierkegaard and Heidegger: Kierkegaard’s and Heidegger’s Analysis of Existence and its Relation to Proclamation. These should appear later in the year.

Løgstrup and Luther

Bjørn Rabjerg and I have recently published a paper dealing with Løgstrup and Luther, based on some of my earlier talks:

Freedom from the Self: Luther and Løgstrup on Sin as “Incurvatus in Se”, Open Theology, vol 4, issue 1


The aim of this paper is to compare Martin Luther and K. E. Løgstrup on the theme of sin and grace, and to argue that while Løgstrup wanted to stay close to Luther in many respects, he nonetheless provides a secularized version of Luther’s picture, according to which we are liberated from our sinfulness not by God’s grace, but by our ethical encounter with other people. This then raises the question of whether Løgstrup’s approach can work, and thus whether this secularized alternative can be made stable and coherent. We begin by focusing on central themes concerning Løgstrup’s relation to Luther. We then outline the key features of Luther’s conception of sin and grace that were important to Løgstrup , and then consider how he develops that conception in a secularized manner. Finally, we discuss problems that might be raised for Løgstrup’s position.

It can be downloaded from here


I was one of the guests on a BBC In Our Time programme today, on the subject of hope. Løgstrup is mentioned very briefly at the end, though not by me! It would have been nice to bring him in more, of course, as his views on hope are very interesting – but it seemed best to stick to more main-stream figures of the purposes of this programme…

Humanism and Christianity

The ABC Religion & Ethics website has recently posted a translation of Løgstrup’s ‘Humanism and Christianity’ article (1950) by Kees van Kooten Niekerk, Bjørn Rabjerg, and myself, together with an introduction to the article by Bjørn and I. It is an important article with interesting relations to Løgstrup’s later discussions in The Ethical Demand. See here for the link.

Aarhus newsletter on Løgstrup

See here for news from the Løgstrup research centre in Aarhus – including a photo of Bjørn Rabjerg and I finishing the first draft of our translation of The Ethical Demand on a hill in Castleton, Derbyshire! We will submit the manuscript to OUP in January 2019, so hopefully will be on sale by the end of next year….