Philosophical Cross Currents

Monday August 7, 2006

At the moment, I’m in the thick of a second draft of my PhD. I haven’t written much about my research here – except obliquely – but as it is one of the things that is preoccupying me the most at the moment, and as the PhD addresses concerns not one hundred miles away from many of my thinkBuddha posts, I thought it might be worth coming clean and writing more directly about it here for once. Not only this, but

The thesis I am writing is about the relationship between storytelling and ethics. It comes out of the question why it is that much of our ethical understanding is in terms of stories, and how it is that stories might be able, in some way, to testify to ethics or – more than this – to provoke a kind of . By this, I don’t mean that stories must have a “moral” – nothing kills a story dead as much as a moral tagged on to the end. What I mean is more that in the tensions, the ambivalences, the equivocations, the uncertainties of stories, there is some kind of ethical demand upon us. I’d probably go further and say that it is perhaps because stories can give rise to ambivalence, uncertainty and equivocation that they can be ethically demanding: I have long suspected that the quest for moral certainty (or the claims to having such certainty) may be not so much the solution as the problem.


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