Writing the Ethical Life
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For a biographer hovering at the threshold of philosophical ethics, the etymology of the latter term issues an invitation to enter: ‘Gr[eek]. ēthikơs, f. éthos usage, character, personal disposition’ (Hoad 1986, 156). Might biography — a genre whose staple diet is ‘character’ and ‘personal disposition’ — be adopted as a means to explore the nature of ethical enquiry in humanistic scholarship more generally? By considering our knowledge, judgements and intuitions about a person, then scrutinising as a component of that project the ‘character’ of the enquiry itself, could biography even emerge as a foundational test case of the interpersonal engagement that comes of writing about the lives of others: of the rapprochement, in other words, between ethics and theatre history?
KeywordsEthical Judgement Personal Disposition Sceptical Theatre Philosophical Ethic Ethical Life
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