Ethics from Systems: Origin, Development and Current State of Normativity

  • Wolfgang HofkirchnerEmail author
Part of the Social Morphogenesis book series (SOCMOR)


This Chapter has three sections. The first section puts ethics in a system-theoretical perspective. It deals with the basic question ethics seeks to answer: how are Is and Ought related to each other? Answers matter insofar as they provide different frames for analysing what goes wrong with morals in unbound morphogenesis.

The second section gives an evolutionary account of how moral values came (and still come) into existence. It presents anthropological considerations on the origin of morals. Animals seem to have no morals, at least in the human sense. How then could human morality emerge? An unsolved debate gets support from empirical research: it is about the specifics of human co-operation that makes the difference.

The third section analyses the state of morals in today’s society. It comes to the conclusion that the neoliberal project resulted in a deep moral-ideological crisis.


Is and ought Emergentist ethics Naturalism Culturalism Amoralisation Hyper-moralisation 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems ScienceViennaAustria

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