Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 30, 2020

In Search of the Context of a Question

  • Hugo Strandberg EMAIL logo
From the journal SATS


How is the role of context in moral philosophy to be understood? Why is the consideration of context important here? This paper is a small contribution to answering these questions. The kind of context that is in focus does not help us answer moral questions but is essential for understanding what kind of moral question arises – indeed, if any question arises at all. For whom does the question arise? What form does the question have for him or her? What relation does the person for whom it arises have to the events in the example as described by the philosopher? In considering such issues, the importance of thinking from an existentially and morally engaged perspective becomes evident.

Corresponding author: Hugo Strandberg, Hugo Strandberg, Centre for Ethics, University of Pardubice, Pardubice, Czech Republic; and Philosophy, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland, E-mail:


Many thanks to Christopher Cordner, with whom I discussed a previous version of the paper and whose questions helped me improve it. I have presented previous versions of the paper at the research seminar in philosophy at Åbo Akademi University and at the research seminar at the Centre for Ethics, University of Pardubice. Thanks to those who participated in the discussions, especially to Salla Aldrin Salskov and Lars Hertzberg. This publication was supported within the project of Operational Programme Research, Development and Education (OP VVV/OP RDE), ‘Centre for Ethics as Study in Human Value’, registration no. CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/15_003/0000425, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the state budget of the Czech Republic.


Aristotle. 1894. Ethica Nicomachea, edited by I. Bywater. Oxford: Oxford University Press.10.1093/oseo/instance.00262063Search in Google Scholar

Baz, A. 2012. When Words are Called for: A Defense of Ordinary Language Philosophy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.10.4159/harvard.9780674064775Search in Google Scholar

Beckwith, S. 2011. Shakespeare and the Grammar of Forgiveness. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.10.7591/cornell/9780801449789.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Cook, J. W. 1999. Morality and Cultural Differences. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Gilligan, Carol. 1993. In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.10.4159/9780674037618Search in Google Scholar

Govier, T., and C. Hirano. 2008. “A Conception of Invitational Forgiveness.” Journal of Social Philosophy 39 (3): 429–44.10.1111/j.1467-9833.2008.00434.xSearch in Google Scholar

Haidt, J. 2001. “The Emotional Dog and its Rational Tail: A Social Intuitionist Approach to Moral Judgment.” Psychological Review 108 (4): 814–34.10.1017/CBO9780511814273.055Search in Google Scholar

Haidt, J. 2006. The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdom and Philosophy to the Test of Modern Science. London: Arrow Books.Search in Google Scholar

Hertzberg, L. 2002. “Moral Escapism and Applied Ethics.” Philosophical Papers 31 (3): 251–70.10.1080/05568640209485105Search in Google Scholar

McDowell, J. 1996. Mind and Word. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.10.2307/j.ctvjghtzjSearch in Google Scholar

Strandberg, H. 2016. “Is Pure Evil Possible?.” In The Problem of Evil: New Philosophical Directions, edited by B. W. McCraw, and R. Arp, 23–34. Lanham: Lexington Books.Search in Google Scholar

Wittgenstein, L. 2009. Philosophische Untersuchungen; Philosophical Investigations, 4th ed. edited by G. E. M. Anscombe, P. M. S. Hacker, and J. Schulte, tr. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell.Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2020-11-30
Published in Print: 2020-11-25

© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 25.2.2024 from
Scroll to top button