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The Ethics of Remembering People and the Fact/Value Dichotomy—: Doris Lessing and Iris Murdoch

The Ethics of Remembering People and the Fact/Value Dichotomy—: Doris Lessing and Iris Murdoch nora hämäläinen Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki through examining the case of Doris Lessing's varying accounts of her mother, I discuss here the fundamental fact/value entanglement involved in describing people, human situations, and human relations. A serious consideration of the ethical and epistemic challenges involved in biographical narration will provide strong reasons for jettisoning the fact/value dichotomy when thinking about human life.1 Yet, I do not propose such considerations as providing an overall model for rejecting the fact/value dichotomy, but rather suggest that there may be no formal unity to the various considerations that speak against upholding a fact/value dichotomy in different philosophical discussions. Furthermore, seeking such unity, a "master theory" to refute the fact/value dichotomy, may work against a sensitive grasp of the various ways in which "fact" and "value" are entangled in human understanding. Doris Lessing, like many novelists prior to the autofictional turn, is adamant about the distinction between biography and fiction, and marvels in her autobiography over the inability of some of her readers to accept that her literary characters are not copies of real people she has known: "How often have I not seen a face fall into disappointment when http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Pluralist University of Illinois Press

The Ethics of Remembering People and the Fact/Value Dichotomy—: Doris Lessing and Iris Murdoch

The Pluralist , Volume 9 (2) – Jun 21, 2014

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
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Copyright © University of Illinois Press
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1944-6489
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Abstract

nora hämäläinen Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, University of Helsinki through examining the case of Doris Lessing's varying accounts of her mother, I discuss here the fundamental fact/value entanglement involved in describing people, human situations, and human relations. A serious consideration of the ethical and epistemic challenges involved in biographical narration will provide strong reasons for jettisoning the fact/value dichotomy when thinking about human life.1 Yet, I do not propose such considerations as providing an overall model for rejecting the fact/value dichotomy, but rather suggest that there may be no formal unity to the various considerations that speak against upholding a fact/value dichotomy in different philosophical discussions. Furthermore, seeking such unity, a "master theory" to refute the fact/value dichotomy, may work against a sensitive grasp of the various ways in which "fact" and "value" are entangled in human understanding. Doris Lessing, like many novelists prior to the autofictional turn, is adamant about the distinction between biography and fiction, and marvels in her autobiography over the inability of some of her readers to accept that her literary characters are not copies of real people she has known: "How often have I not seen a face fall into disappointment when

Journal

The PluralistUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Jun 21, 2014

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