Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 58, Issue 2, pp 368–371 | Cite as

Beyond Good and Evil: Doing Ethics in the Clinic. A Lecture Celebrating 25 Years of the Philip Hallie Lecture, College of Letters, Wesleyan University, November 2, 2018

  • Joseph J. FinsEmail author
Philosophical Exploration
Phil Hallie was a reluctant narrativist (Lorenz 1998). But he was one nonetheless. In Tales of Good and Evil, Help and Harm, he apologizes to his mother for telling her story and then goes on to write about her. He can’t help himself. He writes:

Now here’s a good way to do concrete ethics: Don’t just tell stories interpreted in the old words of ethical theories. Show the intimate feelings of the storyteller, me!

After all, good and evil are as personal as love and hate. And that means bringing mama into it, her terror, the mortal fear that perhaps all Jews feel after what the Nazis did (Hallie 1997).

Hallie explains that his mother dreaded a planned trip to Germany, fearing for his safety, even in 1979. He quotes a letter to her “beloved and precious child” warning him of the peril. “Innocent blood was spilled there,” she wrote. And it wouldn’t matter, “because a hand-full of Christians helped some Jews, Jewish people are happy. Not so with God…”

Reflecting on those words, Hallie...



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The E. William Davis, M.D., Professor of Medical EthicsWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Solomon Center Distinguished Scholar in Medicine, Bioethics and the LawYale Law SchoolNew HavenUSA

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