What You Don’t Know Is Going to Hurt Like Hell: Knowledge, Power, and the Faustian Bargain

  • Jenni G. Halpin
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


This chapter analyzes two small academic communities represented in Penny Penniston’s Now Then Again (a few physicists at Fermilab) and in Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia (literary, cultural, and mathematical scholars at Sidley House in England). I find in these plays the argument that responsibility especially obtains in the face of the possibility of total knowledge, that although partial ignorance is a constituent element of the decision this is not a mandate to preserve ignorance at all costs, and thus that frame of reference (as a limit on what knowledge one can access) makes possible the sort of limited-knowledge human action that can sometimes be described as just.


Epistemology Responsibility Romance 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jenni G. Halpin
    • 1
  1. 1.Savannah State UniversitySavannahUSA

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