Philosophy of the Arts


Iconic Images and Moral Witnesses

Looking at some of the iconic images that we recognize as such (we don’t seem to have a definition of iconic images) one might want to think that for a person to be in a particular iconic image is for her or him to be a moral witness (following Margalit’s definition thereof). But is that necessary, and, if so, in what sense necessary: must one first be a moral witness, or does one become one through the iconic image, and, when the latter: ought that change the definition of the moral witness?

Margalit, Avishai. 2002. “A Moral Witness.” Chapter 5 of The Ethics of Memory, 147–182. Cambridge, Mass., London: Harvard University Press.

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