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Studia Phaenomenologica

Volume 14, 2014

Place, Environment, Atmosphere

Zeynep Direk
Pages 371-393

Phenomenology and Ethics: From Value Theory to an Ethics of Responsibility

There seems to be a shift in phenomenology in the 20th century from an ethics based on value theory to an ethics based on responsibility. This essay attempts to show the path marks of this transition. It begins with the historical development that led Husserl to address the question of ethical objectivity in terms of value theory, with a focus on Kant, Hegel, and Nietzsche. It then explains Husserl’s phenomenology of ethics as grounded in value theory, and takes into account Heidegger’s objections to it. Finally, it considers Sartre as a transitional figure between value theory and an ethics of responsibility and attempts to show in what sense, if at all, Levinas’ phenomenology of ethics could be an absolute break with a phenomenological ethics based on values.

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