Which ethics are in question? Does ethics change?

17 Chapter 2 What is Ethics? As a discipline of philosophy, ethics describes the methodically guided reflection on the moral ideas that determine human behavior. In order to clarify what ethics can achieve, the field of human action and the morality that determines it must first be determined before the object and task of ethics and the models of ethics developed in the course of the history of philosophy can be described in more detail. This background then makes it possible to outline the basic lines of ethics as a normative theory and to draw some conclusions for the central tasks of contemporary ethics, as they arise above all in the area of ​​applied or practical ethics. 1. Concept and task of ethics: human action According to a largely shared understanding, ethics has to do with human action, with action being understood as those acts of human beings that go back to them as the originator and are therefore attributable to them. Since actions are activities through which a person does something, actions can only be described under a description, i.e. H. Identified as what they are by specifying the intention pursued with them, the descriptions referring to the scheme of action, i. H. to the respective action class. As such an event arising from the intention of man, action stands in contrast to mere behavior under the condition of freedom: freedom of action is required for the execution of the intended action, freedom of choice or freedom of will for the choice of the intended action, with the numerous factual restrictions do not contradict the imputed freedom. Because the objection that action, like every event, is completely determined, fails because of the fact that we constantly attribute actions to ourselves and others, mutually hold each other responsible for them, in short, experience that we can also act differently or not at all. Freedom of action and free will therefore refer to a fundamental practical freedom of the human being. The connection between action and freedom is also expressed in the talk of the responsibility that someone assumes in relation to an obligation before a certain authority or that is assigned to someone in this regard. The talk of “responsibility” has the advantage of being able to include the factual reference and the interpersonal and interactive network of references through which demands on action in modern society are expressed.1 2. The anthropological structural conditions of moral action As specifically human The form of expression refers the phenomenon of moral action back to the basic constitution of human beings and the entanglement of body and ego, nature and person, which is characteristic of it, which does not have a fixed connection between the construction plan, the connection between what is ethics? hold and represents the environment, but is characterized by a specific self-abandonment. In contrast to other living beings, man cannot simply live, but is by nature forced to lead his life, and this in coexistence with other people, integrated into the overall context of the nature surrounding him. The structure of “eccentric positionality” (H. Plessner) that characterizes human beings includes, as continuous moments, a mediated immediacy and a natural artificiality.2 As a central component of the institutions and norms mediating human action, morality must therefore be inseparably connected with the human condition and element resulting from their self-abandonment. Since it integrates human action into its respective unity, it is at the same time the decisive form of mediation of the personal identity to be found by humans. Viewed individually, this form of mediation through conscience comes into its own as the predisposition to reflective self-theming that belongs to the human condition.3 3. Action and moral difference Insofar as human action does not simply arise from causes, but is guided by reasons, it is determined by fundamental differences of various kinds , according to which the relevant reasons for the action are distinguished from the non-relevant ones. These basic differences result from the goal orientation, which is constitutive for a certain form of action (such as that of recognizing or producing) and are usually expressed in the form of a binary coding. Among the differences characteristic of human action, the difference that we call moral and express with the traditional terms good and bad or other linguistic equivalents is of particular importance. 4. The moral meaning of “good” When used morally, the word “good” does not denote a natural property or its derivative, but serves as an attributive adjective to assess actions or intentions to act and as to do or not to do or as allowed or prohibited or required to qualify.4 This evaluation takes place with a view to a Fiat, namely the request contained in a wish, a request, an order or the like to realize a certain situation. Fiats are rated as “morally good” if they are viewed as acting as acting, i.e. H. in view of the human being to be accomplished in him, are good, whereby the question of what the successful human existence consists of can find a different answer. In any case, the qualification of an action or action intention as good in the moral sense represents an assessment, with respect to which the further question “Is it also good?” Can no longer be asked meaningfully. So it makes sense to understand the highest Fiat, from which everything else is rated as “good”, that of being able to set and pursue Fiats at all. When used as a noun, the expressions “good” or “goods” are primarily used to designate objects or properties that we value as fundamental fiat in value judgments or practical judgments and that we speak of weighing up interests in the event of a conflict. The outlined meaning of “good” in a moral sense corresponds to the fundamental function that the moral difference has among the differences regulating action: Chapter 2 21 determines the decisive criterion of respect or disregard that we show actions or intentions to act the communicative practice throughout and integrates it into the unit that is characteristic of it. This fundamental function explains the vehemence with which general questions are discussed when they - such as certain questions in the life sciences and their application - have a moral character. 5. Moral difference and ethos However, moral difference is not only characterized by its fundamental function, which does not allow it to be reduced to other differences such as true-false, right-false, legal-illegal, beautiful-ugly, but rather also their specific socio-cultural shape. The moral difference is never expressed in any other way than in a certain concrete overall pattern of attitudes, rules, norms, principles, value convictions or institutions. We call this particular concrete form ethos (from Greek: ethos = habit, character, custom) or morality (from Latin: mores = customs) .5 This explains the use of language and actions, insofar as they fall under these regulations, morally or to call it ethical or to speak of ethics as moral philosophy. Ethical forms or morals always represent a more or less detailed overall pattern of action management, which forms a unit with the respective culture and social order and which is conveyed to the individual in the process of socialization. Morality is therefore not only responsible for the orientation towards action, but also for conveying collective and individual identity. Modern societies are characterized by the fact that they allow a plurality of (internal) morals or group-specific forms of ethics, which are based on what is ethics? On the other hand, they are characterized by the fact that they contain a certain moment of reflection that allows the identification of a normative core that can be the basis of an overlapping consensus. 6. Object and task of ethics Under the philosophical discipline of ethics (derived from the Greek: ta ethika [pragmata] = the philosophical writings of Aristotle related to the ethos or the ethical) or moral philosophy we understand the philosophical reflection on action, in this respect it stands under the moral difference between good-bad and required-forbidden-permitted. It is characteristic of this reflection that it takes place from the standpoint of philosophical reason, that is, uses the methodically reflected concept and the critically examined argument and is related to the validity of the moral-normative claims. The reflection of ethics does not take place, as in moral psychology or sociology, from a purely descriptive or explanatory perspective, but from a practical or moral point of view; its goal is not descriptive-explanatory, but critical-action-guiding. If, however, ethics is to be possible as an examination of actions and action norms that is based on reasons and is aimed at guiding action, it must be able to show (1.) in which way the concrete action is accessible to the general concept, (2.) whether and - if so - how prescriptive criteria can be formulated and justified beyond the rules immanent to a particular ethos and (3.) whether and - if so - how the practical or moral point of view, from which the reflection of the Ethics takes place, can even be shown again. Chapter 2 23 7. Forms of ethics In answering these questions, there are different ways of conceptualizing the subject area of ​​ethics: Ethics can be practiced as a critical hermeneutic of the overall pattern of dispositions for action (virtues) that form an ethos and as such a design successful human life (ethics as the doctrine of the good life or as virtue ethics) .6 It can aim at action maxims and ask about the principles of the validity of these maxims (ethics as ethics of principles or laws or as normative theory). They can understand actions or action schemes as the realization of goals and check their moral quality with the help of a doctrine of fundamental goals or goods (ethics as the theory of goods). But it can also look at actions solely in terms of their consequences and ask about the principles of impact assessment (ethics as impact assessment). Finally, it can also combine various of these ways of viewing and conceptualizing. In today's ethical discussion, ethical theories are often differentiated according to whether they proceed deontologically (derived from the Greek: to deon = the ought), i.e. H. on absolutely valid ought claims, or proceed in a consequentialist manner, namely based on an evaluation of the consequences. A distinction is also made between the analysis of the linguistic-argumentative form of morality and ethics (metaethics) from ethics as a normative theory, namely as a discipline that guides action. As can be easily seen, the subject and task field of ethics overlaps with that of action theory and that of deontic logic. With regard to the question of whether the standpoint of morality is presupposed or whether it is in turn exposed to an attempt to justify it, one can distinguish ethics that contain such an ultimate justification from those that do without it. What is ethics 24 Finally, with regard to the contexts of the discovery and justification of moral claims, a distinction can be made between philosophical and theological ethics and, with regard to the subject matter, between general and applied ethics or practical ethics or area ethics. 8. Ethical theories According to their origin as well as their development spurts, ethics, as already mentioned at the beginning, can be understood as an attempt to react to crises of the validity of the valid morality by resorting to the principles and claims immanent in morality to the moral To bring the basic claim to conceptual and argumentative validity under changed conditions. The history of ethics can therefore be understood as a history of the successive crises of ethics and their attempts at solving them, whereby certain structural possibilities are obviously encountered repeatedly in questions and attempts at solving them. The diversity and diversity of the currently discussed ethical theories cannot therefore be described without looking at the historically influential approaches to ethical theory formation, especially since ethos and morality, to which the current reflection on ethics has to refer, can only be understood from their historical conditions. 9. Historical approaches The origin of ethics can be understood as the question with which the Greek sophistry reacts to the crisis of prevailing morality, namely whether the traditional “fatherly nomos”, which until then was considered to be sa- Chapter 2 25 kral, only “custom and statutes, but nothing is by nature ”or what gives it its legitimacy. Since relativism destroys the action orientation and recourse to the apparently strongest basis, the physical nature of man, leads to the ambiguity of either a moral of the claims of the strong or of a moral of the resentment of the weak, according to Socrates only the path to the good remains Insight, that is, to follow neither out of mere obedience to authority nor out of blind adaptation to the opinion of the many, but rather to recognize with the help of reason what the objectively offered good is. But if an action is not to be called morally good because it is required, but because it is good as such, and it is the insight into goodness that binds the agent, then the intersubjective validity of the good forms the reasoning of the agent (“I follow the logos” 7) and its relationship to oneself (“know yourself” 8) form an insoluble unity that is to be reflected as such by ethics. However, Aristotle objects to Plato, the good that is decisive for the orientation of action cannot lie in the idea of ​​a metaphysically interpreted supreme good and the order of ideas determined by it, as it is grasped by the "idea connoisseurs", but must specific good that can be achieved through human practice. The highest good in this sense and thus the yardstick of the good is happiness (eudaimonia), which is produced in action (praxis) according to those virtues in which human nature finds its fulfillment. A theory of the ethical is therefore only possible as - so the Aristotelian name of the new discipline - “practical science” 9, namely as a reflection that reflects on practice from the point of view of its success. With regard to the action of the individual - practical science also deals with action in the home (oikos) and in the state (polis) - it takes the form What is ethics? 26 of a doctrine of virtues, in which the dispositions for action relevant to the assessment of the individual action are described, which characterize the good person and which have combined in the ethos of the ideal-typical polis based on self-determination through reason to form the overall pattern of a successful life. Accordingly, ethics is the doctrine of the good life, which in the form of practical inference combines the goals obtained through a hermeneutics of virtues or ethos with concrete actions as means and therefore, in the practice of reason, which can be described as prudence (phronesis), its decisive instrument owns. Due to the crisis of ethos associated with the collapse of the polis, the Stoa sees itself forced to remove the principle of morality inherent in Aristotelian ethics ("act according to reason") from its implementation and use the formula "act according to nature" 10 as that to understand natural law (lex naturalis), which is peculiar to man due to his rational nature and through which he participates in the reason (“world soul”) which determines the order of the cosmos. By separating the principle from execution, the multilevel nature of moral judgment becomes recognizable, which allows the true volition corresponding to man's nature as an ought imposed on him and the moral judgment as something in conscience (syneidesis = co-knowledge of one's own actions ) to understand the self-relationship that is becoming evident.11 In connection with the Christian faith, these approaches lead to a development, at the end of which the understanding of ethics itself changes.In accordance with the biblical requirement that all action be subject to the claim of faith, the Christian theology of patristicism and the Middle Ages - beginning with the New Testament - takes up and radicalizes the ancient doctrine of virtues and links them with theological virtues to form a connection that is summa theologiae II-II of Thomas Aquinas is encountered as a systematic whole that receives its unity from love as a form, chapter 2, 27 of all other virtues (forma virtutum ).12 At the same time, the biblical understanding of God leads to a thematization that was hitherto unknown in this way the human relationship to oneself, which was developed by Augustine in the language of Neo-Platonism and Stoa and, in the context of Christian Socratism of the 12th century, led Petrus Abelardus to develop an ethic called Scito te ipsum13. It emphasizes the subjective mediation of the objective moral claim and, following Rom. 14:23, sees the intentio, which becomes evident in the conscience (conscientia), the criterion that constitutes the subjective guilt (peccatum) for the evil deed. Against this background, Thomas Aquinas developed a theory of conscience, using the reclaimed Aristotelian means within the framework of the metaphysics of action in his Summa theologiae I-II, that the habitual possession of the supreme practical principle (“The good is to be done, to leave the evil “14) as the natural law (lex naturalis) possessed in the primordial conscience (synderesis) differs from its execution in the action-guiding judgment (prudentia sive conscientia) and thus a possibility of ethics as a natural framework dispositions and ethos - which can be taken up again for modern discussion If one sees, like Johannes Duns Scotus, the core of the moral act in the will as the faculty of original self-determination, then the supreme principle proper to man as a natural law (“God, the unreservedly good, is to be loved unconditionally “16) to require the will to be carried out as a will, d. H. to let oneself be determined by nothing other than reason (recta ratio) which judges the object as good. Instead of an ethics that guides action, which is oriented towards natural striving goals, there is a rational ethics that tests the positively contingent ethos (ordinatio) in terms of its coherence (consonantia ).17 What is ethics? 28 But it is only the loss of orientation associated with the dissolution of the medieval unity of state, society, religion, culture and law that leads to an ethic in which the subject - on this side of the authorities that have become questionable and on his own - the foundations of his actions in nature , Seeks to ascertain history and / or reason.18 If, like Hobbes, one sets in with the antagonism of the striving for power and fear of death, the rule of reason can be constructed as a “law of nature”, by contracting the original “ Right to all things ”19 and to create in the artefact of the state the authority of the self-preservation guaranteeing ethical and legal norms: The recourse to nature is combined with the method of constructive reason and leaves morality as the contractual work of man and ethics become visible as a theory of their construction. If one wants to hold on to the insight, which has become inevitable, that reason has to take responsibility not only for norms but also for norms, recourse to an empirically interpreted nature can just as little suffice as an orientation to the factual forms of meaning of history. For in the one case the practical freedom of the human being is contested, in the other the unconditional validity of the norm. If, on the other hand, one understands moral consciousness, then Kant's thesis (which resumes the connection between the primacy of the will and the demand for rationality in Scotus according to the matter), as the "self-relation of the rational will" 20 and reason as "a priori legislative for freedom and its own causality" 21, then one can also speak of a causality under laws with regard to human practice, insofar as it is pure practical reason which, independently of everything empirical, grasps the unconditional good as the formal structure of will. Following this out of “respect for the law” 22 constitutes chapter 2 29 “good will”. Because the moral law only specifies the form of action, it is just as strict and general as the laws of nature. Ethics gains the status of legal knowledge insofar as it is nothing other than the examination of the subjective maxims of action against the form of generalizability that is unconditionally valid and expressed in the categorical imperative. Ethics in Kant is the interpretation of the autonomy manifested in basic moral experience as the free self-compulsion of the will. On the other hand, Hegel objects that a morality understood as the self-relation of the will remains abstract and empty of content, 23 as long as it is not expanded into the morality that has become substantial in institutions such as family, law and the state. Accordingly, ethics must be understood as a hermeneutic of history that elevates the forms of objective freedom, whereby it is the progress in the consciousness of freedom that determines the totality of history that gives these forms their moral dignity. But how can the binding nature of the order of meaning of morality and freedom be recorded when the founding instances in nature, subject and history that modern ethics claim are questionable? For if it is the standpoint of freedom that makes morality possible in the first place, this is the objection to Kant, then the opposite standpoint of nature can also be adopted, in whose perspective the autonomous rational subject appears as the result of natural determination in the form of evolution (Darwin) and socialization (Marx; Freud; Nietzsche) proves. And if it is the totality of meaning in history that conveys the morally decisive orientation, this is the objection to Hegel, then a look at history itself shows that totalization is impossible and the boundaries of the respective historical consciousness cannot be crossed. To radicalize the science that is becoming dominant in the form of natural and historical sciences- What is ethics? The pluralization of the lifeworlds within modern large society, which leads to a relativization of value convictions, takes place in common reason. Both phenomena increase the need for a justifiable morality, but are unsuitable as a basis for the ethics required for this. An ethics based solely on scientific statements of an empirical or historical kind, as has been attempted by the French encyclopedists via positivism to the evolutionary ethics of the present, is subject to the fallacy that consists in the attempt to derive ought-statements from a set of pure actual statements . Conversely, it contradicts the factuality of our moral discourses and the use of language encountered in them to regard morality as a matter of mere positing (decisionism) and moral expressions as non-cognitive (emotivism). But how can the cognitivity of the ethical judgment be appropriately reconstructed? If, like utilitarian ethics, one assumes that in the ethical judgment actions or classes of action are considered in terms of their consequences and these consequences are evaluated according to the degree of pleasure, happiness or benefit they can bring for the largest possible number of those involved the principle of trans-subjectivity, which formulates the moral point of view, must be preserved and combined with a rational calculation. However, the question remains whether the important aspect of the consequences is sufficient to evaluate an action in a morally appropriate manner, and whether a calculation such as the one used is saved from mediating the individual with a view to the overall good. If one introduces a principle of justice, as John Rawls does24, utilitarianism is reduced to a subordinate impact assessment. Last but not least, the ethical problems associated with modern life sciences and their application in medicine and biotechnology have made it clear in Chapter 2 31 that an ethics of rules or principles based on the autonomy of the moral subject is insufficient the ethical forms that have evolved over time, but the ethics of the good life that support themselves, do not suffice for the justification claim of modernity. A universal formal ethics of rules can - on its own - neither explain the form of life of the concrete moral subject in its constitutive function and its historical genesis, nor identify the objective natural conditions that make human success possible in the first place. Conversely, ethics of the good life find it difficult to prove themselves against the modern claims to justification and their inherent demand for generalizability. We are therefore looking for an ethics that is able to combine the universal claim with the concrete form of life and, with regard to how people deal with their own and surrounding nature, can fall back on a natural-philosophical-practical concept of nature that does not contradict the knowledge of modern natural sciences, nonetheless but conveys the necessary action orientation.25 Already this brief outline of the goal makes it clear that a mere secondary order of the two approaches mentioned or a simple addition is not sufficient and, without falling behind modernity, ethical possibilities must be obtained again that the premodern Tradition of ethics, especially in the Aristotelian line, holds ready. 10. Fundamentals of a normative theory For an ethics that is normative, i. H. Understanding the theory that guides action, some basic lines can be derived from the above considerations: What is ethics? 32 1. If ethics wants to be understood as a reflection on our lifeworld moral action and speech, guided by philosophical reason, namely one that proceeds from the standpoint of moral difference and has the goal of the normative, moral contained in our moral action The claim to assert critical action-guiding action will then have to understand action from the entirety of its moments, under which the pursued intentions or goals play a special role; and it will understand moral statements as prescriptive sentences related to actions or their classes, which stand under a difference between valid and invalid and thus require and can be justified. In this sense, one can also speak with Aristotle of a truth of practical propositions and assume a moral realism to these propositions.26 2. The justification of concrete action-guiding judgments in the form of testing and justification must, however, be understood as a multi-stage event that focuses on a Majority of sources and instances referenced. Only in this way can it be explained that we consider the moral discourse about such sentences to be meaningful even under the conditions of a majority and diversity of moral life plans and that we can subject our own moral judgment to a scrutinizing reflection. If the moral judgment is understood as a complex structure of sources and instances, the achievements of an ethics of principles can also be combined with those of an ethics of ethics in a way that is more than an abrupt juxtaposition. The recourse to the formal general validity and binding nature inherent in the basic moral claim, as worked out by the ethics of principles - for example in the form of Kant's categorical imperative - must be combined with the critical identification of the material sources that belong to the ethos-ethics Chapter 2 33 enable specific orientation work with a view to concrete action and the formation of collective and individual identity. 3. If an ethics that takes account of this complexity is to have the character of a normative theory, it must formulate in a supreme moral principle the difference that constitutes moral action and speech (Kant's principium diiudicationis boni) and the reason for its obligation (Kant's principium executionis boni) . This can take place in different forms and with different justifications: as an explication of an original will connected with the rational nature of man (Aristotle); an ought which lies in the claim of reason and is articulated in a supreme imperative (Kant); a basic demand in the enlightened self-interest of people to recognize and respect one another and thus first of all to enable a peaceful conflict resolution; a commitment to the criteria of the ability to agree to all practical sentences, which is always presupposed in communicative action a demand to go beyond one's own interests and subject them to the standard of greatest overall benefit (utilitarianism); a basic maxim based on the way of life of self-understanding or a claim based on freedom itself. 4. The difference in the conceptual formulation of the principle corresponds to a difference in its justifications, which range from the reference to an essential human condition to the empirical determination of interests and the reference to a certain way of life to recourse to the self-commitment entered into with communicative or free action and which are suitable for different levels of performance. Compared to short-reaching attempts at empirical justifications and highly presuppositions, and therefore the controversy, what is ethics? The retorsive justification, which Aristotle already chooses for the justification of the principle of excluded contradiction, is recommended. In relation to practical judgments, it means nothing else than that everyone who pursues practical goals - and this also includes those who deny the highest principle with practical intent - the prerequisite on which all practical goals are based, namely being allowed to set practical goals, as a principle who has always recognized freedom (autonomy) or as the moral point of view. The worldwide recognition that this principle has found in the form of the inviolability of human dignity27 shows that it has a validity that is not tied to a specific of the various contexts of justification. Formally, the highest principle is expressed as the golden rule, as the principle of justice, as a requirement for generalizability, trans-subjectivity, the ability to consent, fairness or the exceeding of one's own interests. More difficult than justifying the distinctive character of this principle is that of its obligation or motivational power. Here stronger differ, i. H. More presupposing justifications, such as recourse to the metaphysical nature of man, to the bond through religion or to the embedding in an unquestionably accepted way of life, of weaker ones, such as the reference to the fact of a directly experienceable original will or ought or to the binding force through the enlightened self-interest. The fact that stronger and weaker reasons are not necessarily mutually exclusive explains that morals and ethics can presuppose the recognition of the moral point of view without having to make this exclusively dependent on the recognition of a specific context of justification. 5. Since the highest moral principle specifies the form and obligation of all prescriptive sentences, but cannot be regarded as their source, Chapter 2 35, i.e. is a necessary but not sufficient principle of morality, an ethics formulated as a normative theory must be based on principles and criteria other kind. A first group of principles can be added to this, in which the unruly open natural framework comes into play, without which successful human action and life is not possible. This framework can be seen in basic strivings which - according to the Aristotelian tradition - are connected with human nature and cannot be realized without human practice. But it can also - to name modern interpretations - in ancestral basic drives (W. Korff28), basic dimensions of existence (J. Finnis29), functional human basic faculties (M. Nussbaum30), transcendental interests (O. Höffe31), in general as goods and in particular facts that are considered to be evil (E. Tugendhat32), general human needs (L. Siep33) or in the partial anthropology on which fundamental or human rights are based. If one regards the structures mentioned as conditions for the possibility of humanity, it makes sense to lay down their protection in the form of general prohibitions or general rights. 6. The general ethical criteria must also include those claims that we assign to nature surrounding people and that can be summarized under the concept of what is beneficial to nature. This beneficial aspect cannot be simply read from nature, nor can it be subjectively arbitrarily set; Rather, it is the result of a practical consideration that is based on the scala naturae and is based on the order of the surrounding nature, which is both present and considered to be valued.34 It can then be divided into criteria such as the consideration of the intrinsic structures of nature and their development as smoothly as possible , the preservation of biodiversity, the What is ethics? 36 species-appropriate keeping of animals, avoiding pain in sensitive animals, etc. 7thThe moral principle as well as the criteria to be obtained from the basic strivings or basic dimensions of human nature and the demands of the surrounding nature, however, only represent a metanormative framework and not yet a complete form of the moral good that guides concrete action. It only arises from a draft of the good life, as encountered in the form of an ethos that has become historically, socially mediated and accepted in the respective social context.35 In the light of the principles mentioned, this draft proves itself to be meaningful and thus gains prescriptive validity for each concrete action, whereby this can happen in the form of attitudes (virtues) or norms. As a way of conveying the individual and group-specific qualitative identity, ethos has a claim to conformity which, of course, remains open to criticism in recourse to the universal criteria mentioned; Normative ethics thus takes the form of an ethics of ethics. 8. Since one of the universal principles is the obligation to the principle of reason, the objective validity claim of practical reason is conveyed through the subjective judgment and no claim can gain validity which amounts to a supersession of the moral subject-being of the individual person, the claim of ethos becomes supplemented and counterpointed by the individual life plan administered in conscience and its judgment36, whereby normative ethics comes up against the limit already mentioned at the beginning. 9. If concrete action is to be taken, the above-mentioned principles, criteria, norms and attitudes must be combined to form a complex practical consideration that connects the claim with the concrete living environment, the principles in Chapter 2 37 with the norm and the norm with the situation (Application) and which can most suitably be reconstructed as a practical conclusion (syllogism) and made accessible for reflection on ethics.37 11. Ethics of the subject areas A special challenge for modern ethics are the contexts of action that are created by special functional and / or technical Factual laws are determined and which in part - such as economy, science, art, etc. - represent relatively autonomous subsystems within modern large society. In connection with an innovative scientific-technical development, they expand the spectrum of our options for action in a highly efficient, accelerating measure; but at the same time they entail a profound change in the human environment, which makes the whole of society more and more dependent on the functionality of the autonomous subsystems and leads to a worldwide growing functional network (globalization). But how can contexts of action, that is the question relevant to ethics, that gain the desired functional efficiency from the fact of only following the coding (such as economic / uneconomical, right / wrong, beautiful / ugly, etc.) that results from it the respective end-means rationality, subsume the norms that determine and integrate the communicative practice of society as a whole, namely that of morality? A direct application of morality to the differentiated and dynamically developing contexts of action stands in the way of the fact that morality represents a closed pattern which, in relation to what is known, is ethics? 38 possible courses of action have been developed, which owes its orientation performance to its direct applicability and, moreover, appears in modern large society in a characteristic multiplicity and diversity that distinguishes the social groups. The reference of the differentiated contexts of action to morality required by the unity of communicative practice can therefore only be established through ethics, namely through reflection on the principles inherent in the developed forms of morality. The form of ethics that results from this can be described in terms of its form as applied ethics, practical ethics or area ethics and its subject matter as economic ethics, scientific ethics, medical ethics, etc. It does not differ from traditional ethics through the application reference as such - because this is generally inherent in ethics as a discipline that guides action - but through the way in which this application reference is to be established. Because if the above-mentioned contexts of action are characterized by the fact that they are determined by their own functional rationality and are subject to a dynamic development determined by this rationality, the ethical standardization sought can neither take place through the usual patterns nor be derived directly from the accepted principles. In order to make them accessible for ethical assessment, the goals and means of the options for action that arise in the various contexts of action must be related to the ethical principles, which are binding and which at the same time preserve the desired functionality of the respective subject areas. It is precisely in this way that the specific challenges and difficulties of this form of ethics become visible: in the formation of judgments, sentences of very different types must be related to one another, which is not possible without interdisciplinarity.39 At the same time, in a kind of topical procedure, those principles which can be considered accepted (shared maxims). However, these principles are usually too general to be applied directly to the options for action in question. This requires the further determination (specification) of the general to the more concrete norm, which, given the generality of the principles, cannot happen without elements of the continuation of the ethos form that is accepted by the respective large society in concretizing the general principles. This in turn requires a connection to the moral ideas represented by the social groups. Since they diverge, only partial consensus can usually be expected, which in turn requires rules for dealing with dissent. This difficulty increases in view of the international interdependencies to which certain areas of activity, such as business and science, are increasingly exposed. If these areas are to be effectively subject to ethical norms, cross-border ethical consensus-building is necessary.40 For this, however, it is necessary for ethics to be able to identify and specify those principles and criteria that allow at least partial consensus-building beyond the boundaries of ethical forms which are to be effectively applied to the above-mentioned areas. This, in turn, presupposes that two things will succeed: a new reference of the humanities to the empirical sciences in this constellation as well as a no less new reference of the scientific discourse to the process in which society agrees on the framework conditions of future humanity that are to be regarded as binding . What is ethics