Verantworthik and Gesinnungsethik

Verantworthikand Gesinnungsethik

Verantworthikand Gesinnungsethik

Therelationship existing between the two terms (Verantworthik andGesinnungsethik) has remained essentially significant in thepolitical world. Max Weber used the two terms (Verantworthik andGesinnungsethik) to mean ethics of responsibility and ethics ofconsciousness respectively (Fried, 2013). The contrast between thetwo terms takes the form of relationship between deontological andconsequential ethics. The term Verantworthik is based on the notionthat responsible politicians are able to weigh consequences, whichhelps them in making decisions that result in the best outcome forthe people they are responsible. This means that the decision oractions of a responsible politician should ensure prosperity andsafety while reducing avoiding ruin and suffering.

Ethicsof consciousness, on the other hand, hold that politicians who have agenuine vocation should take into consideration the real and probableconsequences of either the use or non-use of some means of power.Weber based this idea on the fact that politics are done with boththe mind and the heart (Verstraeten, 2004). True politicians do notconsider power to be the end or frivolous, but as a serious matterthat demands the elements of faith, commitment, and loyalty. Inessence, the contrast between the two terms indicates that genuinepoliticians should be passionate, have a clear insight, and somesense of responsibility regarding the consequences of their actions.This means that the ethics of consciousness and ethics ofresponsibility are not contradictory, but complementary.

Webercontrasts between the two categories of ethics by remarking that agenuine politician is someone who is really stirring and truly human(Verstraeten, 2004). This can occur in anyone who is spirituallyalive. Once the genuine political sense is acquired, the ethics ofresponsibility and ethics of conviction stop being opposed to eachother and start complementing each other. The combination of theseethics results in an authentic politician who has a genuine vocationto their politics.


Fried,C. (2013). Heaven: What sense can it make to say that someone isabsolutely wrong? UCLALaw Review,59 (60), 1-30.

Verstraeten,J. (2004). The tension between ‘Gesinnungsethik’ and‘Verantworthsethik’. EthicalPerspectives 2(3), 180-187.