By Claire Cochrane, Joanna Robinson
This selection of essays explores how historians of theatre observe moral considering to the try to in truth signify their topic - even if that be the lifetime of a well known performer, or the little identified heritage of colonial theatre in India - by way of exploring the method through which such histories are written, and the demanding situations they raise.
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Extra resources for Theatre History and Historiography: Ethics, Evidence and Truth
As Rüsen puts it: ‘Saying that people are responsible for what they do or don’t do implies an authority to which they feel responsible or which makes them responsible or claims their responsibility’ (2004, 195). Moreover in the light of our discussion of value above, it is salutary to note Levinas’s statement that ‘Moral consciousness is not an experience of values “but an access to exterior being”’ (Levinas 1976, 409, quoted in Critchley 2014, 5). Virtue Ethics and Feminist Epistemology In part another reaction to the manifest failure of more than 2,000 years of philosophical thinking about ethics to prevent the unprecedented levels of human-inﬂicted suffering experienced in the twentieth century, a renewed interest in Aristotle’s preoccupation with what makes an individual human being innately good and virtuous — and thus capable of good and virtuous acts — has surfaced in the comparatively new ﬁeld of virtue ethics.
As a feminist historian, considering the lives and work of these conservative women, who eschewed overt feminism, she has to ﬁnd a way of resisting the tendency of feminist scholars to ‘explain’ views which do not align easily with a critique of patriarchy. As Newey puts it, an alternative framework — developed through a recognition of the ethics of care — can open out feminist enquiries into the lives of women, enabling the researcher to understand and interpret the negotiations of individuals with the constraints of the social structures within which they live.
Following arguments in favour of giving greater priority to emotional understanding and moral psychology put forward by the philosopher Elisabeth Anscombe in the late 1950s, a growing number of contemporary ethical thinkers including Alasdair MacIntyre and Martha Nussbaum have entered a debate about individual responsibility considered in the light of actual concrete human experience. For what Nussbaum terms ‘general algorithms and abstract rules’, such as Kantian universal principles or utilitarianism which developed out of the Enlightenment conﬁdence in ‘courageous reasoning’ to ﬁnd ways of regulating human conduct, have proved Introduction 17 impossible to apply consistently to the human propensity for wrongdoing (Nussbaum 2013, 630–1).
Theatre History and Historiography: Ethics, Evidence and Truth by Claire Cochrane, Joanna Robinson