NDPR Review: Darwall on Knud Ejler Løgstrup

Knud Ejler Løgstrup, Beyond the Ethical Demand (Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 2007)

NDPR has just published a review, by Stephen Darwall (Philosophy, Yale University), that I thought would interest some of our readers. The review is about two related books: K. E. Løgstrup’s Beyond the Ethical Demand, and a collection of essays on Løgstrup’s thought, entitled Concern for the Other: Perspectives on the Ethics of K. E. Løgstrup, edited by Svend Andersen and Kees van Kooten Niekerk. To read Darwall’s review, please click here.

Here is how it begins:

Knud Ejler Løgstrup (1905-1981) was a Danish theologian who was professor of ethics and philosophy of religion at the University of Aarhus from 1943 until his retirement in 1975. Although his ethical ideas are firmly rooted in Protestant, primarily Lutheran, theology, Løgstrup’s thinking was also shaped by substantial philosophical training, most especially in the phenomenological tradition deriving from Husserl. Løgstrup’s major work, Den Etiske Fordring(1956), was published in English as The Ethical Demand in 1997 by the University of Notre Dame Press, with an introduction by Alasdair MacIntyre and Hans Fink. Beyond the Ethical Demand is a compilation of selections from Løgstrup’s later work in which he develops and to some extent revises his earlier views in important ways. Concern for the Other is an anthology of critical essays on Løgstrup by philosophers and theologians.

The University of Notre Dame Press is to be congratulated for publishing both the two books here reviewed as well as The Ethical Demand. Although the latter received some notice in English-speaking philosophical journals — it was reviewed in both Ethics and The Journal of Value Inquiry — Løgstrup’s work remains mostly unknown among Anglophone moral philosophers. It is, however, filled with significant moral psychological and ethical insights. Løgstrup is especially incisive in noting and analyzing matters of moral phenomenology, and the overall thrust of his view has great interest as well. Moreover, as the most recent volumes make clear, Løgstrup was himself engaged with mid-twentieth-century British moral philosophers like Nowell-Smith and Hare. Twenty-first-century Anglophone ethical philosophy would engage him to its profit.

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