Back to search

NOS-HS-Sekr. nord. sam.nemd. HumSam

EWS On the Conceptual History of the Good: Working towards a New Understanding of Ethics (CHG)

Awarded: NOK 0.18 mill.

Project Manager:

Project Number:


Project Period:

2014 - 2014

Partner countries:

The projected workshops take as their starting point the fact that, since antiquity, the general framework of ethical thinking has changed considerably. One such change that forms the theme of our first workshop is that at some point happiness becomes dis connected from the moral good. Starting from the ancient theoretical framework in which these two are still intrinsically connected, we explore how the two gradually became distinct in the course of the history of Western philosophy during the medieval an d early modern periods. The second workshop approaches a central distinction of the notion of the good, namely that between the common and the private good. Again, in antiquity these two were not supposed to be mutually exclusive; one could, e.g., be tak en to profit from one's own death if sacrificing oneself for the city. Further, ethics as pertaining to the virtues of an individual were taken to form a part of political science. However, from late antiquity onwards, new traditions started to emerge dis tinguishing between these two. For instance, medieval philosophers affirmed the possibility of individual good outside community in the eremitical life devoted to the contemplation of god. By analysing the distinction between the common and the private go od, the workshop also explores how ethics relates to political philosophy. The third workshop builds on the results of the previous two and offers yet another perspective to our theme: the contrast between self-interest and other-regard. This contrast is not at all dominant in ancient ethics, even though philosophers recognise the possibility of moral conflict. Some early modern authors suppose that self-interest conflicts with other-regard but how and why this idea became dominant has not been studied i n sufficient detail.

Funding scheme:

NOS-HS-Sekr. nord. sam.nemd. HumSam

Thematic Areas and Topics

No thematic area or topic related to the project