Basis of Morality and Its Relation to Dramatic Form in a Study of David Copperfield

Author: Nelson, B. R.
This work is in two parts, the first presenting a theory of the nature of morality, and the second presenting a theory about the nature of dramatic form (as the true representation of a person as a moral being). It examines the problem in relation to both empirical and abstract theories. Two empirical theories are discussed in detail: one found in Hume's Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, the other in Freud's Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis. Kant's Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals is examined as a powerful abstract theory. In the second part, a discussion of David Copperfield shows how dramatic form can reveal a person's character in the actual circumstances of his/her psychological development. The study illuminates the deep connections between moral philosophy and literature, revealing something essential about the life of a moral being.