Ethics is considered to be rooted in human nature. Human beings as dialogic individuals have to balance their self-interests and social concerns. In performance, there is no ethical codex that determines once for all what is ‘good’ and ‘right.’ We have, in any historical moment, to decide how we want to mediate between ethical ideals and reality. Variables of use, such as practicability, culture, and interest, shape the decision in complex action games. After a brief survey of the history of studies on ethics, the article outlines the basic points of a holistic theory of dialogue in performance, and analyses a few authentic examples, which demonstrate that ethical ideals have to be adapted to conditions of reality.
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