Reflections on the Communicative Dimension of Responsibility
The debate on the role and identity of Christian social ethics in liberal democracy touches upon the question about the relationship between universality and speci-ficity. Rather than argue for the difference between these approaches, it can be argued that they are to be understood in a differentiated unity with each other. This idea can be substantiated by a figurative appropriation of a Chalcedonian Christology, particularly the communicatio idiomatum. The communicative dimension of this concept has been found to be useful for a reinterpretation of the idea of responsibility. By engaging contemporary positions of communicative ethics, H. Richard Niebuhr’s understanding of responsibility as responsiveness, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Christological concept of responsibility in a constructive dialogue with each other, the article has attempted to outline main tenets of a responsive concept of responsibility based on a broadly conceived Chalcedonian Christology. This responsive understanding of responsibility serves as the foundation of a third position beyond the futile antagonism of liberalism and communitarianism. Hereby it maintains the reasonableness of a liberal democratic assertion of a common political discourse, and yet it also contends the necessity of authentic particular worldviews and outlooks. In its argument for such a third-way thinking it hopes to contribute with an understanding where these positions are seen in a constructive relationship – rather than in contrast – with each other.
Neue Zeitschrift Fuer Systematische Theologie Und Religionsphilosophie, 2011, Vol 53, Issue 1, p. 90-108