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Northern European Journal of Philosophy

Editor-in-Chief: Addis, Mark / Hämäläinen, Nora / Pedersen, Esther Oluffa / Westphal, Kenneth R.

Managing Editor: Pedersen, Esther Oluffa

Together with Niknam, Arman Teymouri

2 Issues per year

CiteScore 2017: 0.07

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.107
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.274

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Volume 11, Issue 1


The ethical subject: Accountability, authorship, and practical reason

Svend Brinkmann
Published Online: 2010-08-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sats.2010.007


Can human subjects be constructed and yet ethical? If it is language that speaks, rather than the author, how can we claim authorship over our utterances and actions? In this article, I struggle with these questions and try to develop a view of the ethical subject between an essentialist position that pictures the subject as unitary, and a postmodern position depicting the subject as fragmented. On this middle ground, I argue that a viable view of the ethical subject presents it as fundamentally an accountable reason giver, but I also point to some important limitations concerning accountability. Drawing in particular on the recent works of Sabina Lovibond and Judith Butler, I explore the resources for thinking of the subject within what has been called the practical reason approach to ethics, arguing that a subject should be thought of as existing in a normative space – a ‘space of reasons’.

Keywords:: Subjectivity; accountability; reasons; ethical formation; practical reason

About the article

Published Online: 2010-08-26

Published in Print: 2010-05-01

Citation Information: SATS, Volume 11, Issue 1, Pages 75–89, ISSN (Online) 1869-7577, ISSN (Print) 1600-1974, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/sats.2010.007.

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