TITLE

Phronesis, Poetics, and Moral Creativity

AUTHOR(S)
Wall, John
PUB. DATE
September 2003
SOURCE
Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Sep2003, Vol. 6 Issue 3, p317
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
At least since Aristotle, phronesis (practical wisdom) and poetics (making or creating) have been understood as essentially different activities, one moral the other (in itself) non-moral. Today, if anything, this distinction is sharpened by a Romantic association of poetics with inner subjective expression. Recent revivals of Aristotelian ethics sometimes allow for poetic dimensions of ethics, but these are still separated from practical wisdom per se. Through a fresh reading of phronesis in the French hermeneutical phenomenologist Paul Ricoeur, I argue that phronesis should be viewed as at least in part poetic at its very core. That is, phronesis deals with the fundamentally tragic human situation of moral incommensurability, and it responds to this by making or creating new moral meaning. Such a poetics of practical wisdom helps phronesis stand up to significant and important critiques made of it by a range of modernists and post-modernists, pointing a way forward for some important contemporary moral debates.
ACCESSION #
17020125

 

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