Prof. Dr. Roberto Mordacci

Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy

In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst

Duration of stay: From November 2022 to July 2023

Roberto Mordacci graduated in philosophy at the Catholic University of Milan in 1989 and then obtained a PhD in Bioethics at the University of Genoa.
Since November 1, 2002 he has been associate professor (confirmed since November 1, 2004) of Moral Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.
Since 1 November 2013 he is Full Professor of Moral Philosophy at the same University, where he teaches Moral Philosophy and Philosophy of History.
Since January 2017 he is founder and Director of the International Research Centre for European Culture and Politics (IRCECP) at the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.
From 1 July 2013 to July 2022 he was Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.
Since July 2021 he is Co-Director of the Journal Filosofia morale / Moral Philosophy (Mimesis) promoted by the Italian Society of Moral Philosophy
Since 1 October 2022 he is Pro-Rector for Humanities and Social Sciences of the Vita-Salute San Raffaele University.

Research Project Title
Critical Ethics & Politics. Normative Reasons & Social Practices

Research abstract
Even though the principle of respect for persons is almost universally invoked in moral normative theory, not so many books are entirely dedicated to the idea of respect.
Maybe the first systematic theory of respect for persons is expounded in R. Downie, E. Telfer, Respect for Persons (Allen & Unwin, London 1969), a rather influential but outdated book based on a personalistic interpretation of some of Kant’s ideas on the subject. Quite understandably, also Kantian in their general outlook, with many differences among them, are the attempts of building a moral theory on the grounds of respect: Carl Cranor’s articles in the ‘70s (e.g. Toward a Theory of Respect for Persons, «American Philosophical Quarterly», 1975), Alan Donagan’s well-known The Theory of Morality (The University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1977), and more recently T.E. Hill’s Respect, Pluralism, and Justice (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2000), the highly influential S. Darwall’s The Second-Person Standpoint: Morality, Respect and Accountability (Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.) 2006) and a number of good articles by Carla Bagnoli (e.g. The Mafioso Case: Morality, Autonomy, and Self-Respect, «Ethical Theory and Moral Practice», 2009).
Yet, all of these attempts rather seem to take for granted the normative validity of the principle of respect, and do not offer a thorough theoretical foundation for it (with the possible exception of Darwall’s book). Furthermore, none of these theories offers a historical reconstruction of the concept, at least as a supporting argument showing how it happened that this principle is so prominent nowadays. Finally, the Kantian ground assumed as the basis of a theory of respect is often unexplored in both its more radical grounds in Kant’s doctrine of non-contradiction in the will, and in its possible connection with the idea of critical philosophy.
This book attempts to fill this gap in the academic research and to offer a systematic theory of respect as the foundation of critical ethics and politics, overcoming the limitations of the existing studies. Furthermore, exploring the notion of critique in a connection between Kant’s critical philosophy and the methodological suggestions coming from the Critical Theory developed by the authors of the Frankfurt School, this book aims to elaborate a fresh outlook to the ethical and political issues of contemporary society, in both moral and political terms.
The idea of respect is the practical ground of normative theory. It does not depend on or derive from other notions, such as the idea of dignity or the nature of human beings, but it is inscribed in the original structure of intentional action with an evaluative relevance. Any human practice is subject to a judgment in terms of respect and a comprehensive theory is needed to critically assess our individual and social practices.

Among his recent publications: Ritorno a Utopia (Laterza, Roma-Bari 2020); La condizione neomoderna (Einaudi, Torino 2017); (ed. with Stefania Contesini), Fare impresa con i valori. Teoria e pratica dell’Identity Shaping (Bruno Mondadori, Milano 2018); Essence et mèthode de l’utopie, Diogène 2021/1 n° 273-274, 7-22; A Short History and Theory of Respect, International Philosophical Quarterly, 59, 2, issue 234 (June 2019), pp. 121-136.

Events during the scholarship (lectures, etc.):
- The idea of critique. A reappraisal, May 16th, 2023, Normative Orders (Kolloquium)
- Respect as a relation of power, May 23rd, 2023, Normative Orders


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30. und 31. März 2023

XXIInd Walter Hallstein-Symposium: The Common Security and Defence of the EU - Perspectives from Member States. More...

13. April 2023, 20 Uhr

Lecture & Film „Kino am Abgrund der Moderne. Die Filme von Luis Buñuel“: Fernando Gonzalez de Leon (Springfield): Viridiana: Interpreting Buñuel’s Gothic Masterwork. Mehr...


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Sprache und Gewalt. Perspektiven aus Theorie und Praxis

Mit: Meron Mendel (Direktor der Bildungsstätte Anne Frank), Natasha A. Kelly (Kommunikationswissenschaftlerin & Autorin) und Nicole Rieber (Berghof Foundation, Globales Lernen für Konflikttransformation)
Moderation: Christopher Daase (Forschungszentrum TraCe) und Rebecca Caroline Schmidt (Clusterinitiative ConTrust)
Dialogpanel im Rahmen der TraCe-Jahreskonferenz „Language(s) of Violence“

Was ist Befreiung?

Prof. Dr. Christoph Menke (Goethe-Universität, Normative Orders) im Gespräch mit Cord Riechelmann (Autor)
Gesprächsreihe "Frankfurter Schule"

New full-text Publications

Christoph Burchard and Finn-Lauritz Schmidt (2023)

Climate Crimes - A Critique. Normative Orders Working Paper 01/2023. More..