Pleasurably Regarding the Pain of Fictional Others

Abstract
Is it ever bad to take pleasure in the suffering of fictional characters? I think so. I attempt to show when and why. I begin with two powerful objections to my view: (1) engaging with fiction is akin to morally unproblematic autonomous fantasy, and (2) since no one is harmed, it is morally unproblematic. I reply to the objections and defend a Moorean view on the issue: It is intrinsically bad to enjoy evil, actual (past, present, or future) and merely imagined. In support, I offer four examples. Then I argue against Moore's claim that it is equally bad to delight in fictional suffering as it is to enjoy actual suffering. Finally, I argue that even though it is bad to enjoy imagined suffering, the power of fiction is often mitigating. The moral problems are more often with the works of fiction than with the audience.
Keywords art and morality  fantasy  imagination  fiction  emotions
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Only published papers are available at libraries
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Aaron Smuts (2013). The Ethics of Singing Along: The Case of 'Mind of a Lunatic'. Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 71 (1):121-129.
    David Davies (2007). Thought Experiments and Fictional Narratives. Croatian Journal of Philosophy 7 (1):29-45.
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2012-01-05

    Total downloads

    12 ( #106,433 of 1,088,810 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,666 of 1,088,810 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.