"Ao contrário de sua acepção comum, em que podemos acusar alguém de ter ou não ética, o éthos estabelece uma dimensão originária para o homem e todas as suas ações. Ele é essencialmente livre porque é ético, lança-se na diferença do ser. Em todos os momentos da civilização, a ética poética consiste em cuidar para que o outro seja o que ele é, o que não pode ser removido ou apagado nem mesmo na morte."
Denise Quintão - Ética e Responsabilidade na Vida
"The fact that must constitute the point of departure for any discourse on ethics is that there is no essence, no historical or spiritual vocation, no biological destiny that humans must enact or realize. This is the only reason why something like an ethics can exist, because it is clear that if humans were or had to be this or that substance, this or that destiny, no ethical experience would be possible - there would be only tasks to be done. This does not mean, however, that humans are not, and do not have to be, something, that they are simply consigned to nothingness and therefore can freely decide whether to be or not to be, to adopt or not to adopt this or that destiny (nihilism and decisionism coincide at this point). There is in effect something that humans are and have to be, but this something is not an essence nor properly a thing: It is the simple fact of one’s own existence as possibility or potentiality. But precisely because of this things become complicated; precisely because of this ethics becomes effective.
Since the being most proper to humankind is being one’s own possibility or potentiality, then and only for this reason (that is, insofar as humankind’s most proper being – being potential– is in a certain sense lacking, insofar as it can not-be, it is therefore devoid of foundation and humankind is not always already in possession of it), humans have and feel a debt. Humans, in their potentiality to be and to not-be, are, in other words, always already in debt; they always already have a bad conscience without having to commit any blameworthy act. This is all that is meant by the old theological doctrine of original sin. Morality, on the other hand, refers this doctrine to a blameworthy act humans have committed and, in this way, shackles their potentiality, turning it back toward the past. The recognition of evil is older and more original than any blameworthy act, and it rests solely on the fact that, being and having to be only its possibility or potentiality, humankind fails itself in a certain sense and has to appropriate this failing – it has to exist as potentiality. Like Perceval in the novel by Chretien de Troyes, humans are guilty for what they lack, for an act they have not committed.