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Moral CreativityPaul Ricoeur and the Poetics of Possibility$
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John Wall

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182569

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2005

DOI: 10.1093/0195182561.001.0001

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The Poetics of Moral Life

(p.171) Conclusion
Moral Creativity

John Wall (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

A fundamental meta-ethical understanding of moral creativity can be developed, in the end, by drawing together the common theses emerging from the preceding ontological, teleological, deontological, and practical investigations. These theses are (1) that moral evil is about neither freedom nor finitude alone but rather their radically tragic tension, (2) that this tension can be addressed only by affirming humanity as still more primordially an image of its Creator and thus capable of rendering moral tensions into ever new moral creativity, and (3) that the poetic aim or perfection of such moral creativity through tension is the ever more radically inclusive creation of our own humanity. The central problem of “tension” can be turned toward moral creativity in the form of either teleological “intentionality” (“stretching toward” a narrative unity of life), deontological “distentionality” (“stretching apart” in response to the irreducible other), or practical “extensionality” (“stretching out” into plural social participation). These impossible possibilities are never fully accomplished in this self-defeating and tragic moral world, but they can nevertheless become ever more excessively realized through the primordial creative capabilities that ultimately make us human.

Keywords:   creativity, capability, evil, excess, humanity, intentionality, meta-ethics, poetics, impossible possibility, tension

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