MacIntyre and Løgstrup

The British Society for the History of Philosophy conference has just been held in Sheffield, and I organised a panel for it on MacIntyre and Løgstrup. The four speakers were as follows:

  • Hans Fink (Aarhus), ‘MacIntyre and Løgstrup on Secularization and Moral Change’
  • Simon Thornton (Essex), ‘Rival Conceptions of the Self in MacIntyre and Løgstrup’
  • Sophie-Grace Chappell (Open University), ‘Rationality, Dependency, Vulnerability and Mercy’
  • Robert Stern (Sheffield), ‘Løgstrup and MacIntyre on Natural Law’

I have posted the papers by Fink and Thornton on the resources page, and the powerpoint for my talk on the draft papers page; the paper by Chappell is available from her on request

Edited collection published

I am pleased to say that the collection I have edited with Hans Fink on Løgstrup is now available to be ordered.

What Is Ethically Demanded?

K. E. Løgstrup’s Philosophy of Moral Life

Edited by Hans Fink and Robert Stern

This collection of essays by leading international philosophers considers central themes in the ethics of Danish philosopher Knud Ejler Løgstrup (1905–1981). Løgstrup was a Lutheran theologian much influenced by phenomenology and by strong currents in Danish culture, to which he himself made important contributions. The essays in What Is Ethically Demanded? K. E. Løgstrup’s Philosophy of Moral Life are divided into four sections. The first section deals predominantly with Løgstrup’s relation to Kant and, through Kant, the system of morality in general. The second section focuses on how Løgstrup stands in connection with Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and Levinas. The third section considers issues in the development of Løgstrup’s ethics and how it relates to other aspects of his thought. The final section covers certain central themes in Løgstrup’s position, particularly his claims about trust and the unfulfillability of the ethical demand. The volume includes a previously untranslated early essay by Løgstrup, “The Anthropology of Kant’s Ethics,” which defines some of his basic ethical ideas in opposition to Kant’s. The book will appeal to philosophers and theologians with an interest in ethics and the history of philosophy.

Contributors: K. E. Løgstrup, Svend Andersen, David Bugge, Svein Aage Christoffersen, Stephen Darwall, Peter Dews, Paul Faulkner, Hans Fink, Arne Grøn, Alasdair MacIntyre, Wayne Martin, Kees van Kooten Niekerk, George Pattison, Robert Stern, and Patrick Stokes.

You can find further details here:

I hope that it will be of interest.

Phenomenology and Psychology

I have posted a translation of Løgstrup’s paper ‘Phenomenology and Psychology’ (jointly translated with Hans Fink). It provides an interesting discussion of the differences Løgstrup sees between psychology and phenomenology as ways of viewing the world, and the kinds of insights they can offer. It also sheds light on his description of his own method as phenomenological in The Ethical Demand and elsewhere, and what he intended this to mean.

See the resources page to download the paper: here

Niekerk on Løgstrup’s intellectual development

I have added a new paper to the resources page: a translation of an excellent article by Kees van Kooten Niekerk on Løgstrup’s ‘road’ to The Ethical Demand, which traces his development from his early writings onwards, and brings out various crucial influences on his ideas, such as Gogarten and Bultmann. It is a very enlightening piece, and I hope others will find it helpful now that it is available in English.


Deleuze on Løgstrup

Thanks to a tip-off from Brian Tee, I have come across this brief review by Deleuze of Løgstrup’s 1950 lectures on Kierkegaard and Heidegger (my translation). The review comes from fairly early in Deleuze’s career, and is one of several he contributed to the journal, so the fact he wrote it doesn’t suggest he engaged with Løgstrup particularly closely – but it is still interesting to see what he made of Løgstrup’s lectures, and he provides a pretty accurate summary of their main themes.

Gilles Deleuze, review of K. E. Løgstrup, Kierkegaards und Heideggers Existenzanalyse und ihr Verhältnis zur Verkündigung (Erich Blaschker Verlag, 128 pages)

in Revue philosophique de France et de l’étranger, 143 (1953), pp. 108-109

The author has published the lectures that were delivered in Berlin in 1950. The first five develop the ideas of Kierkegaard and Heidegger respectively, while indicating the differences between the two philosophers. The two philosophers both speak about life in the crowd, of life ‘within the crowd’. But for Kierkegaard, this life in the crowd is identical with metaphysical speculation: the latter dissolves the poles of the Good and the Bad into the necessary; the former, into the conventional. There is another difference [between the two philosophers]: for Heidegger, the human being puts his own existence into question in anxiety and in death, the self is recalled to being from out of the crowd in order to live face to face with its own death; but according to Kierkegaard, the human being puts his own existence into question in grasping that it is not simple cognition that will raise him up. Both recognize that there is a negativity at the basis of the becoming of existence; but, for Heidegger, it appears because individual existence is powerless in the face of anxiety and death, while for Kierkegaard it is because the human being lives outside the infinite and eternal, which, alone, constitutes me as an I, as spirit. At the end of this analysis, Løgstrup takes up his own position. The essential objection which he makes to Kierkegaard, and in which he sees the principal difficulty that is raised by a relation between philosophy and revelation, is that the infinite demand is without relation itself to the moral or juridical demand that its role is to ground.

Andersen on the Berlin lectures

I have posted a translation of Svend Andersen’s afterword to the Danish edition of Løgstrup’s 1950 Berlin lectures, Kierkegaard’s and Heidegger’s Analysis of the Existence and is Relation to Proclamation: see here. The afterword provides a very helpful overview of the main argument of these lectures, which offer a critical engagement with Kierkegaard and Heidegger. Andersen also puts the lectures in the context of Løgstrup’s later work.