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Løgstrup, Knud Ejler (1905–81)

DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-DC130-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 2023
Retrieved June 22, 2024, from

Article Summary

Løgstrup is the most significant Danish theological and philosophical thinker after Søren Kierkegaard (see Kierkegaard, Søren Aabye) and the most important Danish intellectual of the twentieth century if judged on originality and influence on the contemporary cultural debate. In his key work Den etiske fordring (The Ethical Demand 1956), he explores our mutual vulnerability, and argues that this gives rise to a ‘radical demand which says that the other’s life should be cared for in a way that best serves the other’ (1956: 48). Despite his own personal religious commitments, and the apparent religiosity of some of his language, he resists attempts to ground this demand in theological notions (such as God as a commander or a creator), and so attempts to articulate this ethics in ‘purely human terms’ (1956: 3). In doing so, he presents an original ‘ontological ethics’ which grounds ethics in the basic structure of being; this involves him in secularising some key Lutheran ideas while at the same time criticising a range of alternative accounts, including those proposed by Kant, Kierkegaard, Heidegger, and the contemporary analytic ethics of his time.

Citing this article:
Stern, Robert and Bjørn Rabjerg. Løgstrup, Knud Ejler (1905–81), 2023, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-DC130-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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