Ethics in Art

Context: Shakespeare’s Moral Compass

Is a moral compass always and necessarily retrospectively attributed in art and to artists? I do wonder how often we do assert or interpret such qualitative values in hindsight only to (eventually) discover that all such attributions of ethical relativism are always and already much more a literal and half-mirrored reflection of our own moving frame of reference, our own biases and normative circumstances. This labyrinth of self-reference is of course ineradicable from any mature hermeneutic analysis but suggests a little more.

All systems of belief or collaborative ethical and individual moral perspective are relative. It is in the attribution of universality or of the plausible and underlying “truth” of objectivity that we find the only moral absolutes we are ever going to obtain; that is, all systems of belief or behavioural prescription are foundationally introspective, anchored upon only their own tautologically circular self-definition but they behave as though there were Archimedean points beyond the system upon which to anchor certainty.

It is as true of ethical frameworks as it is of the art or culture from which we might hope to ascertain templates for them: systems of belief are only ever anchored on themselves.

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