The Dialectical/Dialogical Structure of Ethical Reflection

Kelly, Michael
July 1989
Philosophy & Rhetoric;Summer1989, Vol. 22 Issue 3, p174
Academic Journal
This article argues that ethical reflection has both a dialectical and a dialogical structure and, more specifically, that its structure is dialogical because it is dialectical. The overall intention is to develop a hermeneutic conception of the structure of ethical reflection. Ethical reflection has a dialogical structure because it has a dialectical structure. Ethical dialogue is both the investigation of the many conflicting tendencies within human practical reason and the attempt to discover ways of mediating them. The purpose of philosophical ethics is to analyze this dialectical/dialogical structure of ethical reflection, to provide guidance for the mediations it achieves between the different moments of this structure, and to establish criteria with which to conduct the critique of ethical practices. Just as the conflicts that shape practical reason are constantly taking on different forms, the dialogues in which these conflicts manifest themselves and become mediated are forever evolving, but always with the orientation toward solidarity with which they commenced.


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