Recognizing You - The Relational Nature of Morality (2021 - 2024)

Das Forschungsprojekt beschäftigt sich mit interpersonaler Moral als relationalem Konzept. Das Projekt wird von der DFG gefördert.

Abstract: Recognizing You - The Relational Nature of Morality

Do moral reasons have their source in the claims and demands of particular individuals? If so, what does this tell us about what we owe to each other? In particular, what does this tell us about how we are to relate to and recognize each other?

The project aims to answer these questions and explores the extent to which we can address issues in moral and political philosophy in a fundamentally relational way. The central hypothesis of the proposed project is that the entire interpersonal moral domain of morality is best understood as a relational domain, consisting of directed obligations which correlate with and have their normative source in the valid claims of particular individuals, like you.

Most standard accounts of the morality of “what we owe to each other” proceed in the opposite direction, arguing that the entire class of obligations is non-directed and derivative of some abstract set of rules and principles or impartial concern for the overall goodness of states of affairs.

The advantage of the proposed novel relational approach is that it better captures what is at stake in the interpersonal domain of what we owe to each other: that persons have the standing as sources of valid claims to demand certain conduct of each other and that we do not simply do something wrong simpliciter in failing to do what we are obligated to do, but that we wrong others attitudinally by disregarding their valid claims and a subsequent failure to relate to them properly as our moral fellows.

The project is divided into two parts:

Part I concerns itself with meta-ethics of a relational theory of morality, and in particular the challenges facing such a theory. For one, sceptics of scope will deny that we can adequately conceive of the entire domain of interpersonal morality in relational terms; after all, there seem to be many obligations that we owe to each other that are not directed and owed to anyone in particular.

For another, sceptics of basic normative import deny that any, even if possibly restricted, class of directed duties and correlating claims is self-standing and as such carries basic normative import.Part I investigates to what extent these sceptics can be answered, for doing so is paramount for the proposed relational theory of interpersonal morality.

Part II seeks to address and answer the question of the normative significance of the relational dimensions of morality. In doing so, it seeks to illustrate often-neglected advantages of a relational understanding of morality concerning such central concepts as owing, wronging, claiming and respecting, thereby ultimately aiming to lend support to Part I and its ambition to advance a relational theory of interpersonal morality at the meta-ethical level.

The goal of this project is to contribute original research on the relational nature of morality and to thereby unlock novel explanations and justifications for a whole host of relevant moral and ethical issues, concepts, and problems.


Titel des Projekts
Recognizing You - The Relational Nature of Morality
Link zum Projekt
01.09.2021 - 31.08.2024
Höhe der Bewilligung
Dr. Jonas Vandieken
Beteiligte Lehrstühle
Lehrstuhl V