If we do not abandon, as ethical relativism does, the search for objectively valid norms of conduct, what criteria for such norms can we find? The kind of criteria depends on the type of ethical system – the norms of which we study. By necessity, the criteria in authoritarian ethics are fundamentally different from those in humanistic ethics.

In authoritarian ethics an authority states what is good for man and lays down the laws and norms of conduct; in humanistic ethics man himself is both the norm giver and the subject of the norms, their formal source or regulative agency and their subject matter.

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Source: Hegel for Beginners, by Llyod Spencer and Andrzej Krauze, Published by Icon Books. In 1808, Hegel still talked of constructing some sort of bridge between traditional logic set out in classical form by Aristotle and his own. Aristotlean logic had been the standard for 2,000 years. Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) perfected a […]

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Part One: Introduction §1 Philosophy misses an advantage enjoyed by the other sciences. It cannot like them rest the existence of its objects on the natural admissions of consciousness, nor can it assume that its method of cognition, either for starting or for continuing, is one already accepted. The objects of philosophy, it is true, […]

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Emmanuel Levinas is a unique philosopher in the 20th century. He redefines traditional philosophy by radically re-thinking it from the point of view of justice, which in his understanding originates in the encounter with the other. For Aristotle, the “first philosophy” is metaphysics: what is the meaning of the verb “to be.” This leads to […]

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This essay was published for the first time in “Justifications de l’Ethique” (Bruxelles: Editions de l’Universite de Bruxelles), 1984, pp. 41 – 51. I am quoting here from the English translation in “,” edited by Sean Hand, 1989, p. 76. Ethics as First Philosophy’ is a clear and powerful summary of Levinas’s methodical and yet […]

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It is spring in California, and we had plenty of rain through the winter. Everything is in bloom, and the De Young Museum uses this abundance to organize its annual “Bouquets to Art” exhibition. The idea is simple, and it draws huge crowds of spectators. The museum invites floral designers and artists to let themselves […]

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Western Philosophy has an almost  3000-year history, with origins in ancient Greece and Rome, to its fully established form today. It is the intellectual discourse that accompanied Western civilization. At its core, philosophy is thinking, a process of reflection that operates on ideas, propositions, and their history. Philosophy as a discipline can be further divided […]

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