Concern for the Other

Perspectives on the Ethics of K. E. Løgstrup

Edited by Svend Andersen and Kees van Kooten Niekerk

The Danish philosopher K. E. Løgstrup is best known in the Anglo-American world for his original work in ethics, primarily in The Ethical Demand (original Danish edition, 1956). Løgstrup continued to write extensively on issues in ethics and phenomenology throughout his life, and extracts from some of his later writings are now also available in translation in Beyond the Ethical Demand.

In Concern for the Other: The Ethics of K. E. Løgstrup, eleven scholars examine the structure, intention, and originality of Løgstrup’s ethics as a whole. This collection of essays is a companion to Beyond the Ethical Demand, as well as to The Ethical Demand. The essays examine Løgstrup’s crucial concept of the “sovereign expressions of life”; his view of moral principles as a substitute for, or inferior form of, ethics; his relationships to other philosophers, including the twentieth-century British moral philosophers; and the role of his Lutheran background in his ethics. Løgstrup also firmly advanced the controversial thesis, examined by several essays in this volume, that the demand for “other-concern” central to his ethics does not depend on religious faith.

For scholars and students seeking their first or their further understanding of this important thinker, this volume is a rich resource of insight and analysis.

CONTRIBUTORS: Svend Andersen, Kees van Kooten Niekerk, Hans Fink, Brenda Almond, Anne Marie Pahuus, Zygmunt Bauman, Øjvind Larsen, Alasdair MacIntyre, Svein Aage Christoffersen, Hans S. Reinders, and Jakob Wolf.

SVEND ANDERSEN is professor of ethics and philosophy of religion at the University of Aarhus.

KEES VAN KOOTEN NIEKERK is professor of bioethics at the University of Aarhus.


“This essay collection featuring eleven contributors (including Hans Fink and Alasdair MacIntyre, who edited a new translation of The Ethical Demand in 1997) supplies a fittingly interrelated context: each author not only references Logstrup and his concepts but also addresses the critical responses he has engendered from one or more of the contributors here. The complete volume, then, works as a functional discussion rather than a series of discrete pieces.” — Library Journal

“Scholars associated with Aarhus University, where the Danish philosopher and theologian held his professorship, and from elsewhere in Europe discuss Løstrup’s (1905-81) ethics in national and international contexts. Their topics include how he treated moral thinkers, his relationship to British moral philosophy of the 20th century, and his religious account of the gift of life.” — Book News

“. . . The University of Notre Dame Press is to be congratulated for publishing . . . [this book] . . . as well as The Ethical Demand. . . . Løgstrup’s work remains mostly unknown among Anglophone moral philosophers. It is, however, filled with significant moral psychological and ethical insights. Løgstrup is especially incisive in noting and analyzing matters of moral phenomenology, and the overall thrust of his view has great interest as well. Moreover, . . . Løgstrup was himself engaged with mid-twentieth-century British moral philosophers like Nowell-Smith and Hare. Twenty-first-century Anglophone ethical philosophy would engage him to its profit.” — Notre Dame Philosophical Review