Knud Ejler Lgstrups The Ethical Demand is the most original influential Danish contribution to moral philosophy in this century. This is the first time that the complete text has been available in English translation. Originally published in 1956, it has again become the subject of widespread interest in Europe, now read in the context of the whole of Lgstrups work.
The Ethical Demand marks a break not only with utilitarianism and with Kantianism but also with Kierkegaards Christian existentialism and with all forms of subjectivism. Yet Lgstrups project is not destructive. Rather, it is a presentation of an alternative understanding of interpersonal life. The ethical demand presupposes that all interaction between human beings involves a basic trust. Its content cannot be derived from any rule. For Lgstrup, there is not Christian morality and secular morality. There is only human morality. The Ethical Demand is of the highest relevance to contemporary debate, especially around those issues raised by Levinas. It will exert a steadily increasing influence both in theology and philosophy.