Download e-book for iPad: Agents and Lives by S. L. Goldberg

By S. L. Goldberg

ISBN-10: 0521112443

ISBN-13: 9780521112444

ISBN-10: 0521394686

ISBN-13: 9780521394680

Brokers and Lives bargains a brand new and significant rethinking of the normal ''humanist'' view of literature. That tradition's valuation of literature for its ''moral import'' is prolonged in a much wider, extra advanced, open and exploratory figuring out of these phrases. Goldberg's argument levels throughout literature because the Renaissance, concentrating on examples from George Eliot's novels and Pope's poetry. An appendix assesses the connection of his argument to contemporary bills of literature provided through ethical philosophers akin to Iris Murdoch, Bernard Williams, Martha Nussbaum and Richard Rorty.

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If, for example, one were to ask oneself the question 'what a man should be" as Macbeth and his wife do ask it, or again as the Prince asks it in Johnson's Rasselas,findingan answer (as these works make very clear) is not a matter of freely choosing among a number of objective, equally possible alternatives. This applies to art too. It would hardly have been a matter of choosing among objective, equally possible alternatives if, for example, Shakespeare ever did ask himself how Macbeth should best be completed, or Johnson Rasselas.

But why on earth not? — especially since we do not see such destinies as Macbeth's or Antony's as merely 'aesthetically ordered'. Presumably, to 30 Agents and lives think of real people in terms of' destinies' and ' tragic flaws' is not really moral thinking; and neither it is - unless, that is, one understands 'moral' in a large sense. Indeed, unless it has a large sense, it is difficult to understand why we, as moral beings, should be interested in understanding human lives in this socalled 'aesthetic' way in the drama.

All the same, Hare insists, the parallel is no more than that: 'I think it is inadvisable to confine the term "moral" so narrowly' as to exclude such issues from its scope. The problem about this, however, is Hare's conception of both 'moral' and 'aesthetic' questions. If, for example, one were to ask oneself the question 'what a man should be" as Macbeth and his wife do ask it, or again as the Prince asks it in Johnson's Rasselas,findingan answer (as these works make very clear) is not a matter of freely choosing among a number of objective, equally possible alternatives.

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Agents and Lives by S. L. Goldberg


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