Husserl Studies 23 (1):1-15 (2007)

The point of departure of any ethical theory is the anthropological fact that normally developed humans must lead their own lives themselves. This means that their conduct is neither programmed nor determined by instincts. Human beings must on every occasion engage the circumstances of a practical situation by their own choice and decision. Even when they find themselves delivered over to the stimuli and powers of particular circumstances in a completely passive manner, this does not occur in the way that it does for a robot, but rather, on the basis of a background of an essential possibility that they can conduct themselves otherwise than they are now behaving. Where there is the possibility of a choice, then the question inevitably arises regarding the principle of the choice. On what do we base our decision to choose one possibility rather than another? We can let fate decide, we can consult astrological charts, we can appeal to an authority, or we can try to find out what we truly want, what are our deepest desires and what choice agrees best with these desires. Finally, we can also inquire into what decision is the objectively correct and rational one, i.e. which decision is good independent of our subjective preferences. This latter case, of course, presupposes a standard of the objectively good and rational, in regard to which we can be responsible for and evaluate our decisions as well as our ensuing actions.
Keywords Husserl  Ethics  Human behaviour
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DOI 10.1007/s10743-006-9013-8
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