chapter
8 Pages

Prelude

ByAlan Jacobs

The key questions of charitable interpretation, what it is, how to achieve it, will be treated according to the canons of what Aristotelians call practical rationality rather than speculative philosophy. Claudio and Don Pedro possess what they think of as "ocular proof' of Hero's infidelity, and that alone serves to determine their reading of Hero's blushes. No other factors shape their interpretation, nor, indeed, could they; for Claudio and Don Pedro have no other knowledge relevant to the interpretive task with which they are faced. The Friar, conversely, claims an authority that allows him to connect the visual phenomena, which, again, he perceives precisely as Claudio and Don Pedro do, more responsibly and in a way faithful to the true character of Hero. The question of whether Aristotelian ethical thought can survive transplantation from the Athenian polis is a vexed and important one.