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The Nonsense of “Applied Ethics”. From Ethical Vacuum to Ethical Absurdity

Ante Čović ; Sveučilište u Zagrebu, Hrvatski studiji, Borongajska cesta 83d, HR–10000 Zagreb 

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 442 Kb

str. 247-264

preuzimanja: 306


Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 442 Kb

str. 247-264

preuzimanja: 432



The author considers the current process of fragmenting ethics into numerous special ethics at the starting point of the article as a process of destroying ethics as a philosophical discipline. He relates this to the historical failure of ethics which due to categorical limitations could not address the challenges of the advanced scientific-technical civilisation, resulting in an “ethical vacuum” (H. Jonas). In response to the ethical vacuum, a number of ethical initiatives have emerged which the author, according to the effects on the rehabilitation of the role of traditional ethics and on the creation of a new orientation framework, classifies on a destructive and productive line. On the productive line of overcoming the ethical vacuum, bioethics has emerged which, along with other ethical projects, has created a new orientation atmosphere that the author calls “a new ethical culture”. On the destructive line, along with the inflation of special ethics, a special form of destruction has emerged in terms of implanting “applied ethics”, which the author refers to as a nonsensical concept, into the fabric of traditional ethics. Then the author presents three main problems of applied ethics. The first is of a substantive nature and consists in the fact that applied ethics does not have and in principle cannot have unquestionable norms as an object of application. The second main problem is of a methodological nature and consists in the inappropriateness and non-acceptance of deductivism as a model of applying ethical norms to practice. The third main problem is of a practical nature and consists in developing the myth of the practicality of applied ethics. The author concludes that applied ethics is neither an ethical concept nor an ethical project but a market brand which on the ethical plane turns out to be nonsense. In the point of the article, the author argues that applied ethics became an institution of ethical absurdity the moment it, as an empty marketing label, took over the vacancy of the object of application and the role of general ethics for an unrelated and undefined conglomerate of special ethics transformed into its branches.

Ključne riječi

ethics, applied ethics, bioethics, ethical vacuum, ethical absurdity

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Podaci na drugim jezicima: hrvatski

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