Deconstructive Ethics—Handling Human Plurality (Shaped) by Normative (Enabling) Conditions

  • Tatjana Schönwälder-KuntzeEmail author


On the following pages, I present a programmatic proposal for an ethical model that sets out by analysing norms—that is, it does not start with a certain idea of what human beings ‘are’ or ‘must be’ in order to ground normativity . That means to presuppose no kind of reasoning grounded in any so-called autonomous subject, nor in any other kind of prescribed determinations of, or properties belonging to, human lives. Starting with a formal analysis of norms and with their categorization rather than with grounding norms at first might provide an answer to severe objections against the basis of European enlightened ethics.


Institutional Norm Ethical Model Constitutive Norm Habitual Norm Institutional Intermediation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I would like to thank Hans G. Ulrich and Stephan Packard for their critical comments, helping to clear up this paper; and especially Stephan Packard for his judicious re-reading of my English. The work on this paper was possible due to a generous Heisenberg-grant sponsored by the German Research Foundation (SCHO 1077/3-1).


  1. Adorno, Theodor W., Horkheimer, Max. 1943/1996. Dialectic of enlightenment. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  2. Brandom, Robert. 1998. Making it explicit. Reasoning, representing and discoursive commitment. Boston: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Butler, Judith. 2002. The question of social transformation. In Undoing gender, ed. idem (2004), 204–231. NY/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Butler, Judith. 2003/2005. Giving an account of oneself. NY: Fordham University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Butler, Judith. 2005. Giving an account of oneself. NY: Fordham Univ. Press.Google Scholar
  6. Butler, Judith. 2009. Introduction. In: idem (2009). Frames of war. When is life grieveable. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  7. Dewey, John. 1915. German philosophy and German politics. Google Scholar
  8. Dewey, John. 1935/1999. Liberalism and social action. Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  9. Foucault, Michel. 1972. L’ordre du discours. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  10. Foucault, Michel. 1984. ‘L’éthique de souci de soi comme pratique de la liberté’ in: idem. (2001). Dits et Ecrits. tome 2. 1976–1988, no 356. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  11. Foucault, Michel. 1994. The order of things. Vintage Books edition, Copyright © 1970 by Random House, Inc.Google Scholar
  12. Habermas, Jürgen. 2011. “The political”: The rational meaning of a questionable inheritance of political theology. In The power of religion in the public sphere, ed. Judith Butler, Jürgen Habermas, Charles Taylor, Cornel West, 15–34. NY: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Kant, Immanuel. 1795. Groundwork for an Ethics, Third Part. In Liberty: Incorporating four essays on liberty, ed. Isaiah Berlin (1969/2002). Oxford: OU Press.Google Scholar
  14. Kant, Immanuel. 1797. Metaphysics of morals. AA 6:230.Google Scholar
  15. Lacan, Jacques. 1955/1973. Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’ from Écrits’. Yale French Studies 48:39–72 (translated by Jeffrey Mehlmann).Google Scholar
  16. Luhmann, Niklas. 1990. Paradigm Lost. Über die ethische Reflexion der Moral. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  17. Luhmann, Niklas. 2000. Organisation und Entscheidung. Opladen/Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag.Google Scholar
  18. Mayer, Hans 1975/2007. Aussenseiter. Frankfur/Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  19. Menke, Christoph. 2009. Das Nichtanerkennbare. Oder warum das modern Recht keine »Sphäre der Anerkennung« ist. In Sozialphilosophie und Kritik, ed. Rainer Forst et al., 87–108. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  20. Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1983/1992. Notebooks for an ethics. Chicago: UC Press.Google Scholar
  21. Spivak, Gayatri C. 1988. ‘Can the subaltern speak?’ In Colonial discourse and post-colonial theory: A reader, ed. Patrick Williams, Laura Chrisman (1994), 66–111. New York: Harvester/Wheatsheaf.Google Scholar
  22. Spivak, Gayatri C. 2004. ‘Righting wrongs’. The South Atlantic Quaterly 103:2/3.Google Scholar
  23. Watzlawick, Paul. 1999/2011. Pragmatics of human communication. W. W. Norton & Company.Google Scholar
  24. Žižek, Slavoj. 1994. ‘Introduction’. In Mapping ideology, ed. idem (1994), 1–33. London: Verso.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and the Study of ReligionLudwig-Maximilians-Universität MünchenMunichGermany

Personalised recommendations