Back to search

POS-ERC-Støtte til ERC søkere som oppnår god evaluering

Moral residue – epistemological ramifications, emotional implications, and didactic opportunities

Awarded: NOK 0.50 mill.

One of the problems on the way from the level of ethical theory to practice is the phenomenon of moral residue or moral remainder (MR). This distress experience of doubt, guilt, regret, remorse and shame emerging from cumulating unresolved moral conflicts is pervasive in human experience, not the least in medical research and clinical practice. To study MR we propose a narrative approach instead of a view from ethical theory. The reason for this is two-fold: Narration is deeply sensitive to how moral agents think, feel and act, and hence well-suited to understand what it means to experience MR. Second, because of this sensitivity, and because theory commonly privileges the rational aspects of moral agency, narration more so than theory is useful to agents in their attempt to emotionally cope with MR in their everyday actions and deliberations. Three ancient Greek narrative genres where situations of MR occupy centre stage will be used to study this phenomenon: Plato’s methodology of dialogue and aporetic resolution of moral conflicts; an approach derived from ancient Greek tragedy and third, the comic form of narrative dramatization witnessed in ancient Greek comedies. The project will combine research into MR with a study of the didactic potentials of employing such forms of narrative in teaching ethics. The ambition is to develop a typological framework able to conceptualize and deal with situations of MR in a morally sustainable way. Although the study will take place within the context of medicine its relevance is not limited to the moral texture of medicine; it will benefit kindred branches of applied ethics and moral philosophy as well. This is the first research project proposing a narrative approach to systematically explore MR. The approach here suggested, will, if successful, break new ground with regard to how MR can be studied and dealt with in practice. In addition it will make clear why situations of MR should be the main focus of didactic attention.

Funding scheme:

POS-ERC-Støtte til ERC søkere som oppnår god evaluering