Alternative Contemporary Ethics

Alternative Ethics.jpg

From the 1980s on, a number of objections have been leveled against the still-dominant paradigm of moral theory in moral philosophy focusing mainly on the development of prescriptive, universalist theories, often independently of our ordinary social and natural contexts. Such criticism and new perspectives in ethics trod different paths. Representatives of the Wittgensteinian tradition, pragmatism, virtues ethics, care ethics, and critical theory each offered different diagnoses of and suggestions to this dominant tradition. In particular, it has been variously voiced the concern for the feasibility and opportunity of “top down” approaches to moral theory, which in its three components (meta-ethics, normative ethics and applied ethics) has progressively eroded the scope as well as the very relevance of ordinary moral life, exasperating the role and weight of prescriptive theorizing in ethics, according to which the role of philosophy would be that of dictating particular solutions to the various problems afflicting ordinary life.

Against this picture, the centrality of first person moral experience and personal relationships has been vindicated, commencing, in so doing, a new course for moral philosophy altogether. According to these heterodox positions, moral philosophy should assist and ameliorate the moral life by thinking itself anew as one practice among others, rather than as a theoretical device operating from above the thread of human activities and practices as well as from above the yet more comprehensive thread of vital and social coexistences of which non-human animals, environments, and social and economical processes are an integrant part.

The conference aims at articulating these lines of research, showing at the same time the connections and trades between these different alternative contemporary ethical traditions.

The event is organized by Piergiorgio Donatelli and Anne-Marie Christensen. 


Thursday, 14 – The Danish Academy in Rome

9:15-9:45 Registration and coffee
9.45-10.00 Piergiorgio Donatelli (Sapienza) and Anne-

Marie Christensen (USD)

Opening Remarks

10.00-11.00 Lars Hertzberg (Åbo Academi)

Absolutely Personal: Ethics out of Swansea

11.00-12.00 Anne-Marie Christensen (SDU)

How is Moral Philosophy Practical?

12.00-12.30 coffee break 12.30-13.30 Sandra Laugier (Paris 1)

Ethics and the Perception of Importance

13.30-14.30 lunch

14:30-15:30 Silver Bronzo (Moscow)

Moral Perfectionism and the Enlightenment in

Stanley Cavell and Pier Paolo Pasolini

15.30-16.30 Caterina Botti (Sapienza)

Revisiting Care Ethics as an Ethics for Present


16:30-17 coffee break
17.00-18.00 Estelle Ferrarese (Université de Picardie)

Adorno’s Vulnerable Moral Agent


Friday, 15 – Dipartimento di Filosofia, Sapienza Università di Roma

09.30-10.30 Danielle Petherbridge (UCD)

Recognition and Ethical Responsiveness

10.30-11.30 Piergiorgio Donatelli (Sapienza)

Perfectionism and Virtue

11.30-12.00 coffee break
12:00-13.00 Sarin Marchetti (Sapienza)

Therapy and Transformation in Pragmatist Ethics

13.00-14.00 lunch

14.00-15.00 Nora Hämäläinen (Pardubice)

A Case for Moral History – Universality and

Change in Ethics after Wittgenstein

15.00-16.00 Martin Gustafsson (Åbo Academi)

What's So Particular About Morality?

16.00-16.30 coffee break
16.30-17.30 Oskari Kuusela (East Anglia)

Wittgenstein and the Unity of Good

17:30- 18:30 James Conant (University of Chicago)


18:30-19.00 Concluding remarks 

Clara Han