Institute of Philosophy
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

  Ethical Thought, 2018, vol. 18, no. 1.
Home Page » Scholars » Academic Divisions » Department of Ethics » Ethical Thought » Ethical Thought, 2018, vol. 18, no. 1.

Ethical Thought, 2018, vol. 18, no. 1.




Leonid V. Maximov On the Analytical Style in Ethics

The article gives brief characteristics of the analytic way of thinking in the form as it has took shape in the English and American analytic philosophy and ethics in the last decades and is gradually adopted, although with difficulty, into the methodological arsenal of the Russian ethics. General description is given of the evolution of the analytical philosophical thought mainly freed from the old neopositivist doctrine of logocentrism and turned into multi-purpose analytical style in principle compatible with the wide variety of methodology items and worldview in the moral philosophy. Differentiation was conducted of the contemporary analytical ethics embodying the analytical style in its pure form and meta-ethics preserving noticeable elements of the above mentioned logocentric doctrine in its approaches and concepts. Such a separation of the two (previously identifiable) disciplines makes its more simple to accept the analytical style by those schools of the ethical thought which have arouse in the traditions of classic ethics and therefore adversely treated the neopositivist logocentrism. In the last section of the article, the methodology approaches are described on which the analytical style in ethics is mainly oriented. The anti-metaphysical focuses of the ethical analytism and its antagonism to the speculative transcendentalism are mentioned. The metaphysical inclination is opposed against by the naturalism, empiricism and psychological logic. Moreover, the analytical style of the research is close to the philosophic principle of determinism the acceptance of which excludes the concept of free will understood in the indeterministic key. In conclusion it is stated that the analytical style contributes to the improvement of the scientific culture of ethical studies.

Keywords: analytical ethics, analytical philosophy, analytical style, logocentrism, metaethics, theoretical ethics, normative ethics, alogism, metaphysics vs. naturalism

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-5-17


Aslan G. Gadzhikurbanov Aristotle and Stoics on the External Goods

This article is an answer to the publication considering the significance of “external” goods in the concept of happiness in Aristotle. It challenges, in particular, the validity of so-called inclusive doctrine on the role of external goods in moral doctrine of Aristotle, according to which happiness as the highest moral good can arise from the goods that are by their nature morally indifferent. Our opponent argues that the proposed instrumental approach to “external” goods by Aristotle allows him to give all of them a moral sense and thus to include them in the definition of happiness. He believes, consistently instrumentalist interpretation of the “external” goods in Aristotle will help us to bring together his moral teaching with Stoic doctrine, seeing in it some kind of peculiar Stoic moral rigorism. We think the universalization of instrumental approach to “external” goods in Aristotle offered by our opponent is not always valid, and does not allow to reconcile the position of the great moralist with the Stoic moral doctrine. In addition, the moral rigorism of the Stoics concerning the “external” goods has to be balanced with Stoic idea of morally “indifferent” things. In this case, we should detect the borders of such rigorism.

Keywords: Aristotle, Stoics, “external” goods, happiness, instrumental approach, moral rigorism, morally indifferent

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-18-29

Ludmila E. Kryshtop Moral Doctrine of Christian August Crusius

Ch.A. Crusius was one of the most original German thinker of the Age of Enlightenment. Being one of the most intransigent opponent of Wolffian philosophy, he became famous for his criticism of Wolffian principle of sufficient reason, in which he saw danger for both molality and religion. Houwever, his own philosophical views, and above all his moral philosophy, are of a great interest. By distinguishing two basic abilities in a human being – will and reason, Crusius insisted that the key role in determining the human behavior belongs to the will, although we can not comprehend exactly how it is possible. In this Crusius disagreed with Wolffian view fundamentally. And it is because of his disagreement that Crusius is known as voluntarist and irrationalist. At the same time, he supposed that both will and reason were corrupted as a result of the Fall. A human being himself is not able to live in accordance with virtue, so he needs the external divine guidance in the form of moral law established directly by God. The moral law prescribes human beings to increase their perfection and the world around them. However, the implementation of this law will be truly moral only if the person has a corresponding internal intention, which, according to Crusius, should be the desire to fulfill this moral law only from obedience to the holy will of his Creator. The basic Crusius’ ethical ideas in many respects are similar to Kantian ones.

Keywords: Crusius, moral doctrine, virtue, will, moral law, God, wisdom, obligation, necessity, obedience

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-30-42

Andrey V. Prokofyev Francis Hutcheson and the Possibility of Moral Virtue Beyond the Scope of Benevolence

The ethics of Francis Hutcheson is an important milestone in the history of the modern conception of morality. This conception presupposes that moral values and requirements motivate agents to seek the good of other person, other people, society, and humanity. The non-other-regarding virtues and duties lie beyond the limits of morality or occupy a marginal niche within these limits. Hutcheson identifies moral good with benevolent feelings and actions sprang from them. However, there are some fragments in his works where actions and features of character lacking in apparent ties with needs and interests of other people have moral significance. The author tries to show that Hutcheson does not depart from his identification of morality with benevolence because he believes that many virtues and duties though appear non-other-regarding actually have implicit tie with the good of other people and especially with the good of society (“the whole system”). To put it differently, he demonstrates the possibility to reduce them to benevolent feelings. The paper contains an analysis of some major directions of this reduction. The first pertains to duties to God, the second reinterprets the duty to care for oneself, and the third reveals altruistic aspects of the human aspiration to beauty and truth.

Keywords: morality, early Modern ethics, benevolence, non-other-regarding virtues and duties, Frances Hutcheson

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-43-56

Andrey K. Sudakov Kant on His Way towards a Demonstration of God’s Existence, or One Unfortunate Postulate

After having criticized the traditional arguments for the existence of God, Kant in his Critique of Practical Reason attempted to prove the moral necessity of postulating the existence of a supreme divine personality as a precondition for the realization of the “derivative highest good”, which is conceived as a necessary connection between virtue and beatitude/happiness of finite creatures in proportion to this virtue. Ontological and cosmological arguments are replaced by that of ethico-theology which appeals to the conditions of fulfilment of moral laws as well as to the sense of human happiness. The paper deals with the internal logic of Kant’s argument and with the problems it presents within the context of Kantian moral theory. A two-part concept of the derivative highest good, connecting virtue to happiness, could hardly comply with this context. The genuinely Kantian account of happiness/beatitude as an essentially indefinite ideal “not of reason, but of imagination”, giving rise to an anti-eudemonistc moral doctrine in which the highest good is only an unconditionally good will, is hardly unifiable with any request for metaphysical and theological warranties for a happiness well-proportioned to personal virtue. The final realization of the highest ethical good excludes struggle and therefore Kantian virtue as moral mentality in struggle. Finally, the Christian doctrine of God, the acknowledgement of which the philosopher of Koenigsberg claims to be necessary for purely moral reasons, does not contain neither promises nor warranties of beatitude in the wёide sense of the notion, but shares the strictly rigorist stance of Kantian morals. The ethical theory with a monomial notion of highest good does in fact dismiss the problem of theodicy; a two-part notion of highest good revivifies the problem of theodicy in the least promising of its possible versions; e. g. grace in this new theodicy is replaced by morality. The constructions in the field of philosophy of religion by posterior German idealists had mostly left this strange postulative argument Kants aside.

Keywords: Kant, highest good, postulate, god, Christianity, moral necessity, virtue, happiness/beatitude, theodicy

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-57-65



Alexander A. Sanzhenakov Aristotle’s Metaphysics as Basis of His Ethics

The paper deals with the problem of correlation of Aristotle’s metaphysics and ethics. I argue that a number of metaphysical notions had affected to Aristotle’s ethics. First, I show that a thesis from the first book of the Nicomachean Ethics about happiness of human being as its peculiar activity becomes justified and reasonable due to consideration of the notion “essence”. The representatives of this point of view became are T. Irwin, E. Halper, D. Achtenberg, M. Sim. This approach which I refer to as “essentialism” describes Aristotle’s ethics appropriately insofar as it is the virtue ethics. However, in EN 1140b16–20 Aristotle said that there are the first principles of action (for which actions are performed) and that we ought to choose and do everything for sake of these first principles. I suppose that this passage reveals an obvious deontological line in Aristotle’s ethics which cannot be represented in “essentialism”. Indeed, while “essentialism” is concentrated on the essence of being (including human being), deontology takes in account first the essence of morality. Therefore, I offer to appeal to the notion “actuality” (energeia) because it can represent both aretological and deontological lines of Aristotle’s ethics. Thus, the metaphysical basis of Aristotle’s ethics can be shown by both “essence” and “actuality”, although the latter is preferable since it is more universal.

Keywords: ethics, metaphysics, Aristotle, essence, activity, actuality, virtue, deontology

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-66-77

Olga P. Zubets On Ethics as the First Philosophy but Not on the Metaphysical Foundations of Ethics

The article is based on the disagreement with the attempts to see the connection between ethics and metaphysics through the idea of the metaphysical foundation of ethics which puts ethics on the secondary, derived part of philosophy. From the very beginning of philosophy it put forward two interconnected questions of the one whole basis of the world, of the ἀρχή and of the being oneself, both of which were basically ethical and could not get their answer through cognition. Even more, they were the questions about being oneself of a philosopher in the act of thinking. The ethical essence of these questions becomes especially vivid when Aristotle unites them in his answer when he finds the way of being oneself in being ἀρχή of an act, of πρᾶξις. In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle directly indicates the identification of ἐνέργεια with the act: the point is not in the fact that Aristotle uses metaphysical and ethical terms for their intermutual definition, but in their essential identity and ethical basis: they mean the immanency of goal and the acting one’s being in the act. The notion of an act appears to be the final philosophical concept realizing ethics as the first philosophy.

Keywords: Aristotle, ethics, Being, Act, ἀρχή, ἐνέργεια, Being of oneself, the first philosophy

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-78-83

Anatoliy P. Skripnik What Ontological Foundations Does Aristotelian Ethics Reveal?

The paper supports the conclusion that the energetic interpretation of the metaphysical foundations of Aristotelian ethics is more fruitful than essentialist one. For Aristotle, ἐνέργεια as activity, having an end in itself, is opposed to ἔργον as activity aimed at external objectives. Virtuous activity is between contemplation and creativity, but in fact, in its ontological status, it is much closer to creativity. The essentialist trend of Aristotelian ethics is based on the idea that immobility is better than movement. That trend allows to identify Aristotle as an ethical realist. The shift towards ἐνέργεια makes it possible to interpret him as a precursor of ethical constructivism. Virtuous activity creates the reality of a special kind: the high quality of the city-state life, virtuous disposition of soul and of human relations. The fruitfulness of the energetic interpretation of the peripatetic ethics is also found in solving the problem of the ontological status of moral facts, their relation to natural and social facts. Borrowed from Aristotle, the term “ἐπιγινόμενόν”, translated in Anglophone analytical philosophy as “supervenient”, was extended to the relationship between moral and natural properties. Morality supervene on the human practice, giving it a special focus and flavor, making it self-valuable, encouraging to do good only because it is good. Being supervenient, morality, however, cannot make a person a self-sufficient creature. On the contrary, it shapes humanity as interdependence and readiness for cooperation.

Keywords: Aristotle, ethics, ἐνέργεια, ἔργον, ethical realism, ethical constructivism, supervenience

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-84-89

Aslan G. Gadzhikurbanov On the Priorities of Ethics and Metaphysics

The article presents some reflections on the relationship between metaphysics and ethics in moral philosophy of Aristotle in connection with A. Sanzhenakov’s paper. His remarks concerning the undervaluation of moral problems in modern analytical studies, focused on human existence, the disregard of axiological discourse, the loss of interest in the metaphysical foundations of moral theory, are very penetrating. It is metaphysics, as a general theory of being, that constitutes its own hierarchy of values, which serves an axiological framework for ethics. However, some of the author's ideas concerning the significant aspects of Aristotle’s moral theory do require some clarification and supplementation. In particular, he emphasized the metaphysical principles of Aristotle's moral philosophy and misses many others that are no less significant. A. Sanzhenakov pays not enough attention to the important distinction between two types of virtue – the ethical virtues and the virtues of contemplation. Lastly, the concept of virtue as an end in itself, which Sanzhenakov associates with Aristotle, is peculiar rather to Stoic ethics, and not to Aristotle’s one.

Keywords: Aristotle, metaphysics, ethical virtues, virtues of contemplation, wisdom, happiness, energy, essence, human limits

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-90-94

Roman S. Platonov The Connection Between Metaphysics and Ethics in the Philosophy of Aristotle: the Concept of “Energy”

The article analyses the paper of A.A. Sanzhenakov “The metaphysics of Aristotle as the basis of his ethics“. Special attention is given to his criticism against the “essential” method of research the connection between Aristotle’s metaphysics and ethics in the research literature. It is shown that this method doesn’t lead to a reduction of human nature solely to intellectual activity, as Sanzhenakov asserts. On the contrary, the concept of human “essence” as “quidditas”, according to Aristotle, includes several essential characteristics (rationality, speech, sociality). The article supports Sanzhenkov’s opinion the concept “energy” is key-concept to the ethics of Aristotle, but it is shown that the role of this concept is more meaningful. It expresses both the virtuous human act as self-valuable (exactly this is important for Sanzhenakov), and also the whole complexity of human as a being of body, thinking and social, and existing not only individually but at the generic level. In that way, the concept “energy” leads us not only to the concepts “disposition” and “virtue”, but also to concepts with communicative content: “communication” (homilia, koinonia), “friendship” and “friendliness” (philia). Accordingly, human nature is revealed more precisely. Therefore, the article proposes to consider the connection between metaphysics and ethics in a complex (i. e. taking into account the complex nature of human). In this case, the connecting link between metaphysics and ethics is anthropology, and the main methodological principle of research is to show how the metaphysical content of the concept “energy” becomes anthropological and ethical.

Keywords: Aristotle, ethics, metaphysics, energy, communication, essence

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-95-99

Elena V. Alymova Aristotle and the Problem of Coherence of the Metaphysical and Ethical Discourses

The paper is a contribution to a discussion on a report of Alexander Sanzhenakov who proposes an original interpretation of relations between Aristotle’s ethics (praxis) and his metaphysics (theory). Hereby the rigid traditional distinction of the theoretical and practical disciplines of Aristotle’s philosophy is being challenged. The interpretation presented by Alexander Sanzhenakov, that is the consideration of the ethics (as well as the other practical sciences) of Aristotle should not be detached from the context of his metaphysics, is accepted in general terms in the following paper. This point of view being not very popular deserves attention because it seems consistent with the principal theses of Aristotle’s philosophy and can hold ground: the subject of ethics is human praxis and act in function of the final end (telos) which directs us to Aristotle’s teleology with its questions about the end (finality), the essence, the nature, the being, whereas the praxis and act presuppose an acting human being that is makes it necessary to take into consideration the identity of the human nature and the problems of its actualization and its description. Alexander Sanzhenakov distinguishes two approaches which he calls essentialist and energetic. These approaches being scrutinized do not seem to have different foundations. Supporting the main objective of the author of the report submitted to discussion we cannot agree with this distinction. Some argument is being put forward.

Keywords: Aristotle, praxis, metaphysics, the principles, ethics, teleology

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-100-105

Pavel A. Mishagin An Energetic Approach to the Relationship Between Ethics and Metaphysics as a Path to the Philosophy of Freedom

The author focuses on the key points of the energetic approach to understanding of the relations between ethical and metaphysical aspects of Aristotle’s doctrine, presented by A. Sanzhenakov and O. Zubets (with some reservations) and on the connections between the energetic approach and the essentialist one (presented by T. Irvin, E. Halper and D. Ahtenberg). The special features, advantages, and disadvantages of the essentialist model are revealed, as well as advantages of the energetic concept and its heuristic potential for the interpretation of interrelations between metaphysics and ethics in Aristotle’s teaching. The author comes to the conclusion that in accordance with Sanzhenakov’s approach, the essentialist interpretation can be considered as a special case of the energetic one on the basis of the identification of the following semantic levels of the concept “energeia” (as the realization of the ability and as an actualization of the nature of things). The third semantic level of the concept “energeia” (as a self-valuable activity) opens new way of understanding the connection between metaphysics and ethics, which provides grounds and prospects for an examination of lines of continuity between Aristotle’s eudemonic ethics and Kant’s rigorous ethics as essentially related moral systems. For both of them ethics is a study of voluntary activity of intrinsic value.

Keywords: metaphysics, ethics, deaxiologization of ethics, deontologization of ethics, essential approach, energetic approach

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-106-110

Sergey S. Avanesov The Axiological Aspect of Aristotle’s Metaphysics

The article deals with the relationship between metaphysical discourse and the ethical (axiological) context in Aristotle’s philosophy. The author discusses this issue in connection with the problem of the “deaxiologization” of theoretical knowledge in modern philosophy, articulated in the report of Alexander Sanzhenakov. The question is raised about the correlation of speculative and axiological aspects in the construction of the theory of knowledge in Aristotle’s philosophy. The author argues the thesis according to which the division of knowledge into theoretical and practical, and the affirmation of the higher status of the theoretical episteme in comparison with the practical episteme are strictly axiologically grounded in the philosophy of Aristotle. He also claims that human activity is described by Aristotle as an energetically revealed logos, and the authenticity of this external revelation (realization) is normatively conditioned. The author points to examples of such a normative paradigm in Plato, who emphasized that the value of a physical thing in the context of human experience is not related to its “nature”, but to its “use”. The author sees the source of this view in the philosophy of the pre-Socratics (first of all, in Anaximander): the mutual combination of ontological and moral dimensions within the unity of reality. In the thought of the Miletus School, devoid of analytic fragmentation of reality, the description of the existing order naturally includes the “rule of action”, which does not “follow” from this order, but is its necessary element. Only violent separation of ontology and ethics (is and ought, description and prescription) in the philosophy of Enlightenment gives rise to a false problem of their correlation and makes it necessary to build the Hume guillotine. It is shown that the epistemological discourse of Aristotle is built within the framework of metaphysical paradigm, which assumes normativity as an ineradicable element of the relevant judgment about the real state of affairs.

Keywords: Aristotle, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, axiology, Plato, ancient philosophy, real and proper

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-111-117

Vladimir N. Nazarov Is the “Metaphysics of Vices” Possible in the Ethics of Aristotle?

The main thesis in the article is put in the form of a medieval university debate, it consists in proving that Aristotle's ethics presuppose “metaphysics of vices”. Three objections are raised against this thesis. The first is that according to Aristotle, “viciousness destroys the principle”, which determines the metaphysical basis of the act. The second is that Aristotle describes depravity on the part of psychological and anthropological deviations, which presupposes an anthropology rather, than a “metaphysics of vices”. And, finally, the third objection is connected with the lack of “metaphysics of evil” in Aristotle's ethics, as an essential first principle along with good. Then a contradictory proposition is given, indicating the essential interconnection of vices and virtues: if virtues based on principles are correlated with metaphysical values (supreme good, striving for beauty, etc.), then vices must have a certain metaphysical basis. Otherwise, we will have a “bifurcated” ethic consisting of “metaphysics of virtues” and “anthropology of vices”, which contradicts the ethical doctrine of Aristotle.

After that, the answer itself is given, the essence of which is that the metaphysical principle in ethics is not in substantiating the nature and source of negative values (vices), but in the possibility of conscious choice and free preference. This means that moral values (virtues and vices) are related essentially to free will. The metaphysical principle here is that “a person is not simply burdened with virtue or vice” (N. Hartmann), but he/she is an agent of will expression, presupposing a free choice of one or the other, including intended violation and rejection of the principle of the highest good.

Keywords: the metaphysics of morals, “triad” of vicious morals, metaphysics of vices, anthropology of vices, metaphysics of evil, the principle of viciousness, the choice of vices

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-118-123

Alexey V. Skomorokhov Metaphysics as the Basis of Moral Philosophy: Status and Possibilities

The article focuses on establishing conditions that may allow metaphysics to be the basis of moral philosophy under the rule of modern discourse, and specifically on Aristotle's thought contribution to solving this problem. In this regard the objectives of the article are: а) to identify the primary causes of moral philosophy and metaphysics dissociation in modern thought, b) to find out, whether Aristotle’s way of metaphysics and ethics association can be useful under the conditions of modern discourse. Therefore, the problem of identifying the metaphysical foundations of Aristotle’s ethics is being considered in the broader context of identifying the cardinal ways of linking metaphysics and ethics in the history of thought. It is shown that moral philosophy and metaphysics dissociation in modern thought is determined not by the arbitrary position of philosophical schools, but by fundamental origins of the New European thought, in particular by foundation of morality on the metaphysical problem (Kant’s antinomies of pure reason). Moral issues of the present days (namely: devaluation of morality) are therefore tracked to origins of New European thought. Overcoming these issues requires the change of foundations of thought, resorting to the ancient origins of philosophy (especially to the crucial idea of integrity).

Keywords: problem of metaphysics, origins, foundations of morality, being and thinking, “golden mean”

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-124-129



Konstantin E. Troitskiy In Search of the Ethics of Migration. The Discussion about Borders: Major Perspectives and Arguments

The search of ethical principles for migration policy is on the agenda in many countries. There are heated discussions at both the international and national level regarding the nature and consequence of migration flows, the boundaries of responsibility, and the criteria used to determine who should and should not be allowed to enter the country. Usually such discussions are framed in terms of protecting moral values and are heavily saturated with terminology of ethics. Alongside the public sphere, interest in the topic is growing rapidly across a range of academic disciplines, from anthropology and psychology to sociology and economics. A broader range of issues are considered by philosophers, drawing above all on theories of ethics. Unfortunately, this topic is totally absent from Russian-language academic literature. This article seeks to compensate for this absence; the author provides an introduction to the ethical debates typically associated with migration. The focus is on the discussion in the academic literature as to whether or not the state has a moral right to exercise sovereign and discretionary control over immigration.

Keywords: ethics, cosmopolitism, migration control, open borders, the ethics of immigration, migration policy, refugees

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-130-145

Vladimir I. Bakshtanovky The Idea of Designing a Professional and Ethical Code: A Worldview level

The article is focused on the idea of designing the worldview level of professional and ethical codes and the experience of its implementation. The task of this “trans-normative” level consists in the sense and value orientation of the high profession and the rationale for the content of the normative level, the constitutuion of its hierarchy. The main subjects of the article are original codes of university and journalistic ethics, the method of researching / designing the worldview level of two institutions of professional ethics – the Tyumen Ethical Media Convention and the Professional and Ethical Code of the Tyumen State Oil and Gas University.

The article describes the following elements of the worldview level of the code: moral choice; service in the profession; professionalism that presuppose not only doing the work right, but also doing the right work in terms of the high mission of the profession; alignment and retention of the ethics balance of the profession and ethics of the corporation-organization, by its nature fraught with the suppression of individual professional and moral choices.

Keywords: professional and ethical code, worldview level of the code, moral choice, service in the profession, professionalism, doing the work right – doing the right work, ethics of the profession, ethics of corporation-organization

DOI: 10.21146/2074-4870-2018-18-1-146-157