Zeitschrift Für Evangelische Ethik 43 (1):262-276 (1999)

Social ethics today is understood as an ethics of the institutions of human social interaction. It originated as a discipline during the 19th century under the influence of the modern social sciences. Thus it is a child of the Enlightenment. A Look at the history of ethics, however, reveals that the reformational theory of the three estates represents an early stage in the development of social ethics. lts origin in Aristotelian philosophy, its development within the Lutheran Reformation, and its end in the Enlightenment are portrayed. Current differentiation of ethics into special areas as well as efforts to establish the ethos specific to and goveming the application of ethical principles to autonomaus areas of responsibility motivate the topic and intention of this reexamination of the historic theory of the three estates, especially with respect to its theological foundations
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DOI 10.14315/zee-1999-0135
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