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Title: History as Moral Commentary: Ideology and the Ethical Responsibilities of Remembrance.
Issue Date: 30-May-2013
Publisher: Rima I.T
Description: Many theorists and historians have advocated an ethical turn in scholarship within the recent past. The idea of the moral responsibilities of a historian extends back to scholars of the ancient world and early Christian writers but, until recently, had been minimized in favor of Enlightenment ideals concerning the existence of objective truth. Following upon the exposure of epistemological fragilities by many academics in the mid-twentieth century, the ethical turn has argued for a return to the attitude of the moral purposes of the historian. Academics espousing these views have asserted the existence of moral and ideological underpinnings in all historiographical works and have argued the benefits of scholars, openly acknowledging this aspect of their work. This paper seeks to investigate this recent trend among historians and suggests that, in spite of the persuasive arguments for the adoption of this methodological stance, there are aspects to it that are problematic and must be addressed. I will achieve this through an analysis of recent works that offer prominent examples of the “ethical turn,” and also through the work of a contemporary moral philosopher. My intention is to both examine this important direction in historiographical theorizing and to point to areas that demand more attentive examinations on the part of historians. It is hoped that this will encourage heightened awareness on the part of academics.
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