Darwall and Løgstrup

I am just back from a NOMOS conference on Darwall:


It was a very interesting meeting, where I gave a paper contrasting Darwall’s approach to Løgstrup’s. Broadly speaking, I argued that while Darwall offers a social command view of moral obligation, Løgstrup is closer to a natural law approach.

Løgstrup on trust

I am pleased to say that one of my Løgstrup papers has just been published:

‘”Trust is Basic”: Løgstrup on the Priority of Trust’, in Paul Faulkner and Thomas Simpson (eds), The Philosophy of Trust (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), pp. 272-94

Here is an abstract:

This paper considers the account of trust offered by the Danish philosopher and theologian Knud Ejler Løgstrup. In his work The Ethical Demand (1956) and related writings, Løgstrup offers an important discussion of trust, in which he makes the claim that trust is somehow prior to or more basic than distrust. However, there is some unclarity over what this claim could mean, and thus what sort of priority is suggested: for example, whether this is a matter of developmental psychology, or value, or a transcendental relation where one is the necessary condition for the other. Different views on this question are explored, and consideration is given to how the question relates to Løgstrup’s account of trust more generally, as essentially ‘laying oneself open’ to the other in a form of ‘self-surrender’.

The collection also contains a couple of other essays which mention Løgstrup in relation to trust, by Paul Faulkner and Stephen Darwall

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