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Morals and Their Ironies

Ruth L. Smith
The Journal of Religious Ethics
Vol. 26, No. 2 (Fall, 1998), pp. 367-388
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40008666
Page Count: 22
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Morals and Their Ironies
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Abstract

The moral use of irony cannot be made a universal critical tool isolated from its situatedness in history and disconnected from the social conventions shared by ironists and their audiences. Linking irony with alienation, Reinhold Niebuhr and Richard Rorty attribute to irony an inherently critical stance, yet in practice they limit the voices that can articulate moral irony and they reinforce modernist notions of agency. The author rejects their positions and turns to humorous irony to identify more complex and ambiguous relations between morals and ironies and to challenge the rhetorical history of modernist alienated agency.

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