Vowing Moral Integrity: Adrian Piper's Probable Trust Registry
The artist and analytic Kant scholar Adrian Piper has been aptly described as “one of the most important and influential cultural figures of our time”. The award-winning work of installation and participatory performance art, Probable Trust Registry: Rules of the Game #1-3, implicitly poses philosophical questions of interest to contractarian philosophy and its critique, including whether through an art installation one can execute a genuine, morally binding commitment to be honest, authentic, and respectful of oneself. Especially for audiences who closely identify with her experiences, Piper’s artwork, like that of other important artists, has powerfully catalytic ethical potential. Motivated by admiration for the artist and a perceived conflictual relationship between women of color and conventional discourses of moral solidarity, I offer three different ways to understand Piper’s Probable Trust Registry. I suggest that Piper’s thought-provoking artwork, which implicitly nods at John Rawls and Charles Mills, can be interpreted as asking its audiences to agree to selections from a menu of rules that, in the alternative, embrace universal moral imperatives, predict future moral integrity, or vow moral integrity.
art, aesthetics, Adrian Piper, Charles Mills, conceptual art, performance art, contractarianism, critical race philosophy, Black Women Philosophers
European Journal of Analytic Philosophy
Allen, Anita, "Vowing Moral Integrity: Adrian Piper's Probable Trust Registry" (2023). Faculty Scholarship. 3153.