Cognition and Literary Ethical Criticism

Abstract
“Ethical criticism” is an approach to literary studies that holds that reading certain carefully selected novels can make us ethically better people, e.g., by stimulating our sympathetic imagination (Nussbaum). I try to show that this nonargumentative approach cheapens the persuasive force of novels and that its inherent bias and censorship undercuts what is perhaps the principal value and defense of the novel—that reading novels can be critical to one’s learning how to think.
Keywords Martha Nussbaum  sympathetic imagination  ethical criticism  transcendental argument  narrative  truth in fiction  novels
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