Should moral commitments be articulated? An introduction, International Journal of Philosophy and Theology

Ariën Voogt, Petruschka Schaafsma

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This Special Issue questions a basic assumption in thinking about morality: the idea that the explicit articulation of moral commitments that usually remain implicit is the basis par excellence for dialogue and rapprochement between people of opposing views. Nicholas Adams shows in the main article of this Special Issue that there is a paradox behind this assumption concerning ethics itself: articulating moral commitments may end up undermining them. It inherently stands in tension with forms of life as people actually inhabit them. Adams associates this basic paradox of ethics with the problem of forced articulation in particular discursive regimes, such as interreligious dialogue. The practice of Scriptural Reasoning is introduced as an alternative mode of dialogue that is less vulnerable to the distortions of articulation. The five response articles (by Petruschka Schaafsma, Ariën Voogt, Rob Compaijen, Dominique Gosewisch, and Sophia Höff) address aspects of Adams’ challenge to articulation in relation to morality, rather than the setting of interreligious engagement. They point out the value of articulation in spite of its inherent imperfection, or constructively elaborate on how to deal with the paradox of ethics as analyzed by Adams. Finally, Adams responds by addressing the concerns of these replies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-308
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Journal of Philosophy and Theology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Paradox of ethics
  • Nicholas Adams
  • articulation
  • moral dialogue
  • common ground
  • interreligious dialogue

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