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Ethicisation in the Light of Law and Morality Dichotomy

Pavo Barišić orcid id ; Universität Zagreb, Universitätsabteilung für Kroatische Studien, Kampus Borongaj, Borongajska cesta 83d, HR–10000 Zagreb
Ante Čović ; Universität Zagreb, Universitätsabteilung für Kroatische Studien, Kampus Borongaj, Borongajska cesta 83d, HR–10000 Zagreb

Puni tekst: francuski pdf 398 Kb

str. 87-103

preuzimanja: 268


Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 398 Kb

str. 87-103

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Puni tekst: engleski pdf 398 Kb

str. 87-103

preuzimanja: 266


Puni tekst: njemački pdf 398 Kb

str. 87-103

preuzimanja: 240



This paper seeks to shed light on the trends of contemporary ethicisation in various areas of life, from business and technology to science and politics, with special emphasis on the legal domain. The key question is: how does nowadays immensely enlarged ethicisation of the lifeworld relate to the principle of separating legality from morality and the rule of law as the minimum of moral in the society?
Theoretical framework for this analysis is Thomasius’ division of natural law into honestum, decorum and iustum, as well as Kant’s dichotomy of the metaphysical foundations of the doctrine of law and virtue in the Metaphysics of Morals. This framework represents the pinnacle of the demand of the Enlightenment era for a separation of the spheres of legality and morality. The question is raised as to whether contemporary ethical tendencies undermine the legacy of the Enlightenment regarding the protection of the human rights.
Based on this dichotomous model, the impact of the recent expansion of professional, medical, scientific, business and other forms of ethics, the massive establishment of ethics committees, political correctness, and the mediation of public opinion on the framework of human fundamental freedoms is further elaborated. By way of illustration, two exemplary case studies from Croatia are presented—the normative flaws of a code of ethics and the misuse of an ethical body for political purposes.
The conclusion elaborates how contemporary ethicisation can produce good results by promoting legal issues and legal protection. However, it should not exceed the limits and undermine the rule of law. The separation of morality and law is an important legacy of the democratic constitutional state. The unbridled and extensive ethicisation of various spheres, though, can be devastating to good order and well-being in the contemporary increasingly pluralistic and multicultural society.
Therefore, the impartial tribunals should judge by the centuries-old and established standards of justice; they do it more equitably than the provisional ethical committees and the ad hoc appointed commissioners would. Ethics may continue to deal with the inner side of action and maxims. Nevertheless, the ethical maxims are not always bound to external compulsion. The full realisation of human freedom depends on this essential distinction, which every society should carefully determine and regulate.

Ključne riječi

ethicisation, law, moral, legality, morality, minimum of morality, ethical commission, ethical code, witch-hunt, value pluralism, democracy, rule of law

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