What is Moral Repair?

What is Moral Repair?

Morality is vital to a society’s survival and continued existence. Yet it is a highly

contested social aspect particularly ever since the rise of liberal attitude and approach

to life and exceedingly individualized societies. Aeon Skoble’s essay titled ‘Moral Clarity

and Practical Reason in Film Noir’ is a creative philosophical debate of the controversial

topic of morality. Skoble asserts that film noirs are less morally vague than they are

generally thought to be (41). For him, there are ethical lessons we can learn that

underpin the outward absence of moral clearness. From what we see in film noirs we

learn that there is always the ‘right thing to do’ but for whatever reason alternatives

seem enticing. This is one way through we can make out ethical lessons from film noirs.

Skoble points out that in the kind of situations that face characters in film noirs, moral

ambiguity can be understood as an exercise in moral decision making (42).

In case of a situation where true justice and righteousness is in conflict with

dominant standards of justice, one can still affirm moral realism and reject subjectivism.

A person hired as a law enforcer who turns out to be a bad guy can not affect ones

ability to discern the different morals of the characters involved. In other words people

have the ability to reason practically on the basis of film noirs. For instance, Quinlan in

the 1938 Touch of Evil by Orson Welles, is definitely a criminal though he was hired a

policeman. He should therefore be pursued by the morally upright Vargas who finds him

collaborating with drug trafficker he was supposed to investigate (Skoble 44).

Skoble draws a distinction between ethics of duty and other ethical frame works

like ethics of virtue put forward by Aristotle.


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