Bonhoeffer pp 57-78 | Cite as

Bonhoeffer’s Turn to Conspiracy: The ‘Extraordinary Situation’

  • Petra Brown


This chapter begins to explore the ethical framework that informed Bonhoeffer’s decision to become a conspirator. Through a close examination of a central passage in Ethics, written during his time as a double agent in the Abwehr, this chapter shows the emergence of a new idea, the ‘extraordinary situation’ that is based on Machiavelli’s necessitá. It is an example of a ‘borderline case’, understood as requiring ethical decisions apart from appealing to intrinsic laws that enable discernment of right action. There emerges a tension between the agent who breaks the law in order to affirm the law but has no basis for doing so that is understandable within the context of the law.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Petra Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Arts-EducationDeakin UniversityGeelongAustralia

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