Recent philosophical discussion about the relation between fiction and reality pays little attention to our moral involvement with literature. Frank Palmer's purpose is to investigate how our appreciation of literary works calls upon and develops our capacity for moral understanding. He explores a wide range of philosophical questions about the relation of art to morality, and challenges theories that he regards as incompatible with a humane view of literary art. Palmer considers, in particular, the extent to which the values (...) and moral concepts involved in our understanding of human beings can be said to enter into our understanding of, and response to, fictional characters. The scope of his discussion encompasses literary aesthetics, ethics, and epistemology, and he makes extensive reference to literary examples. (shrink)
Featuring new selections chosen by coeditor Lewis Vaughn, the third edition of Louis P. Pojman's The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature brings together an extensive and varied collection of ninety-one classical and contemporary readings on ethical theory and practice. Integrating literature with philosophy in an innovative way, the book uses literary works to enliven and make concrete the ethical theory or applied issues addressed in each chapter. Literary works by Camus, Hawthorne, Hugo, Huxley, Ibsen, (...) Le Guin, Melville, Orwell, Styron, Tolstoy, and many others lead students into such philosophical concepts and issues as relativism; utilitarianism; virtue ethics; the meaning of life; freedom and autonomy; sex, love, and marriage; animal rights; and terrorism. Once introduced, these topics are developed further through readings by philosophers including Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Nozick, Singer, and Sartre. This unique anthology emphasizes the personal dimension of ethics, which is often ignored or minimized in ethics texts. It also incorporates chapter introductions, study questions, suggestions for further reading, and biographical sketches of the writers. The third edition brings the collection up-to-date, adding selections by Jane English, William Frankena, Don Marquis, John Stuart Mill, Mary Midgley, Thomas Nagel, Judith Jarvis Thomson, and J.O. Urmson. It also features a new chapter on euthanasia with essays by Dan W. Brock, J. Gay-Williams, and James Rachels. Ideal for introductory ethics courses, The Moral Life, Third Edition, also provides an engaging gateway into personal and social ethics for general readers. (shrink)
Now in its fourth edition, Louis P. Pojman and Lewis Vaughn's acclaimed The Moral Life: An Introductory Reader in Ethics and Literature brings together an extensive and varied collection of eighty-five classical and contemporary readings on ethical theory and practice. Integrating literature with philosophy in an innovative way, the book uses literary works to enliven and make concrete the ethical theory or applied issues addressed. Literary works by Angelou, Camus, Hawthorne, Huxley, Ibsen, Le Guin, Melville, Orwell, Styron, Tolstoy, (...) and many others lead students into such philosophical concepts and issues as relativism; utilitarianism; virtue ethics; the meaning of life; freedom and autonomy; sex, love, and marriage; animal rights; and terrorism. These topics are developed further through readings by philosophers including Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Singer, Sartre, Nagel, and Thomson. This unique anthology emphasizes the personal dimension of ethics, which is often ignored or minimized in ethics texts. It also incorporates chapter introductions, study questions, suggestions for further reading, and biographical sketches of the writers. The fourth edition features five new readings--by James Rachels, Alasdair MacIntyre, Michael Levin, John Corvino, and Stephen Nathanson--and a new appendix on how to write a philosophy paper. A new Companion Website features resources for both students and instructors including reading summaries; true/false, multiple-choice, and essay questions; and PowerPoint slides. Ideal for introductory ethics courses, The Moral Life, Fourth Edition, also provides an engaging gateway into personal and social ethics for general readers. (shrink)
Is it possible for postmodernism to offer viable, coherent accounts of ethics? Or are our social and intellectual worlds too fragmented for any broad consensus about the moral life? These issues have emerged as some of the most contentious in literary and philosophical studies. In Renegotiating Ethics in Literature, Philosophy, and Theory a distinguished international gathering of philosophers and literary scholars address the reconceptualisations involved in this 'turn towards ethics'. An important feature of this has been a renewed interest (...) in the literary text as a focus for the exploration of ethical issues. Exponents of this trend include Charles Taylor, Bernard Williams, Iris Murdoch, Cora Diamond, Richard Rorty and Martha Nussbaum, the latter a contributor and a key figure in this volume. This book assesses the significance of this development for ethical and literary theory and attempts to articulate an alternative postmodern account of ethics which does not rely on earlier appeals to universal truths. (shrink)
Recently, a number of Anglo-American philosophers of very different sorts--pragmatists, metaphysicians, philosophers of language, philosophers of law, moral philosophers--have taken a reflective rather than merely recreational interest in literature. Does this literary turn mean that philosophy is coming to an end or merely down to earth? In this collection of essays, one of the most insightful of contemporary literary theorists investigates the intersection of literature and philosophy, analyzing the emerging preferences for practice over theory, particulars over universals, events (...) over structures, inhabitants over spectators, an ethics of responsibility over a morality of rules, and a desire for intimacy with the world instead of simply a disengaged knowledge of it. (shrink)
This volume brings together Nussbaum's published papers on the relationship between literature and philosophy, especially moral philosophy. The papers, many of them previously inaccessible to non-specialist readers, explore such fundamental issues as the relationship between style and content in the exploration of ethical issues; the nature of ethical attention and ethical knowledge and their relationship to written forms and styles; and the role of the emotions in deliberation and self-knowledge. Nussbaum investigates and defends a conception of ethical understanding which (...) involves emotional as well as intellectual activity, and which gives a certain type of priority to the perception of particular people and situations rather than to abstract rules. She argues that this ethical conception cannot be completely and appropriately stated without turning to forms of writing usually considered literary rather than philosophical. It is consequently necessary to broaden our conception of moral philosophy in order to include these forms. Featuring two new essays and revised versions of several previously published essays, this collection attempts to articulate the relationship, within such a broader ethical inquiry, between literary and more abstractly theoretical elements. (shrink)
The "only pretension, of which I am tenacious," wrote Hazlitt, "is that of being a metaphysician"; but his metaphysics, and particularly what this book identifies as his power principle, has until now been neglected. This exciting book studies Hazlitt's development of the power principle as a counter to the pleasure principle of the Utilitarians, and examines the revelation of power in his philosophy of discourse, his account of imaginative structure, his theory of genius, and his moral theory.
This book combines contemporary ethical theory, literary interpretation, and historical narrative to defend a view of the humanities as a source of moral guidance. Peter Levine argues that moral philosophers should interpret narratives and literary critics should adopt moral positions. His new analysis of Dante’s story of Paolo and Francesca sheds new light on the moral advantages and pitfalls of narratives versus ethical theories and principles.
The promise of language in the depths of hell: Primo Levi's Canto of Ulysses and Inferno -- The difference between difference and otherness: Il milione of Marco Polo and Calvino's Le città invisibili -- Traces of the Confucian/Mencian other: ethical moments in Sima Qian's Records of the historian -- War and the Hellenic splendor of knowing: Euripides, Hölderlin, Celan -- The saying, the said, and the betrayal of mercy in Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice -- Nom de dieu, quelle race: the (...) saying, the said, and the betrayal of charity in Mongo Beti's Le pauvre Christ de Bomba -- Transcendent divinity and human responsibility in Mahfouz: "zaabalawi" and children of our alley -- That you might have my witness in your poem: Valéry, the symbolist tradition, and Edgar Bowers' later blank verse. (shrink)
Introduction: the literary function -- Being constructivist -- Rethinking the performative in pragmatics -- The literary function and the cartographic turn: performative philosophy -- The literary function and society, I: affirmation of immanent aesthetics -- The literary function and society, II: community and subjectification -- The reader and the event of fiction -- Conclusion: degrees of freedom.
Why do Americans, and so often, American writers, profess moral sentiments and yet write so little in the traditionally "moralistic" genres of maxim and fable? What is the relation between "moral" concerns and literary theory? Can any sort of morality survive the supposed nihilism of deconstruction? Jefferson Humphries undertakes a discussion of questions like these through a comparative reading of the ways in which moral issues surface in French and American literature. Humphries takes issue with the "amoral" view of (...) deconstruction espoused by many of its detractors, arguing that the debate between the theory's advocates and opponents comes down to two opposing literary and moral traditions. While the American tradition views morality as a rigid system capable of being enforced by injunctions along the lines of "Thou shalt" and "Thou shalt not," the French tradition conceives of morality as a function of a relentless and unsentimental pursuit of truth, and finally, an admission that "truth" is not a static thing, but rather an ongoing process of rigorous thought. (shrink)
Part of the value of stories is moral, in that understanding them, and the characters within them, is one way in which we seek to make moral sense of life. Arguably, it has become quite common to use stories in order to make moral sense of business life. Case method is the standard teaching method in top business schools, and so-called “war stories” are customary for on-the-job training. Shakespeare is a trendy purveyor of leadership education. Several books and articles have (...) been written on the intersection between literature and business and/or business ethics. Still, it is one thing to claim that literature can contribute to our understanding of business conduct, but yet another to claim that literature can contribute to␣the related goal of improving moral conduct in business. Supporters of the claims tend to presume they go together, while skeptics and detractors often discard them as a package. These claims warrant further investigation if they are to be perceived by business scholarship and practice as worthy of serious attention, not just a quaint search for lowbrow moral fables or a vain pursuit of highbrow poetry. One instrumental function of literature is to imitate life, thereby expanding our vision beyond our parochial interests; to see literature merely as a didactic instrument to serve business interests misses the point that literature should expand understanding, our sense of what in addition to business is interesting and valuable. (shrink)
Alison Denham examines the ways in which our engagement with literary art, and metaphorical discourse in particular, informs our moral beliefs. She considers to what extent moral and metaphorical discourses are capable of truth or falsehood, warrant or justification, and how it is that we understand these discourses. This vital new study offers a fresh view of the nature of the moral and the metaphorical, and the relations between art and morality.
While a number of philosophers have argued recently that it is through our emotional response to certain literary works that we might achieve particular moral understanding, what has not been discussed in detail in this connection are works which generate conflicting responses in the reader; which is to say literary works in which there is significant element of ambiguity. Consider Joseph Conrad's novel Lord Jim. I argue that in making sense of our potentially conflicting responses to this novel, and specifically (...) to its central character Jim, we may gain a richer sense of the ways in which literature may contribute to moral understanding — in this case by contributing to an understanding of our own character, its blind spots and its limitations. (shrink)
This review summarizes the research on ethical decision-making from 2004 to 2011. Eighty-four articles were published during this period, resulting in 357 findings. Individual findings are categorized by their application to individual variables, organizational variables, or the concept of moral intensity as developed by Jones (Acad Manag Rev 16(2):366–395, 1991). Rest’s (Moral development: advances in research and theory, Praeger, New York, 1986) four-step model for ethical decision-making is used to summarize findings by dependent variable—awareness, intent, judgment, and behavior. A discussion (...) of findings in each category is provided in order to uncover trends in the ethical decision-making literature. A summary of areas of suggested future research is provided. (shrink)
Increased technological and pharmacological interventions in patient care when patient outcomes are uncertain have been linked to the escalation in moral and ethical dilemmas experienced by health care providers in acute care settings. Health care research has shown that facilities that are able to attract and retain nursing staff in a competitive environment and provide high quality care have the capacity for nurses to process and resolve moral and ethical dilemmas. This article reports on the findings of a systematic review (...) of the empirical literature (1980 — February 2007) on the effects of unresolved moral distress and poor ethical climate on nurse turnover. Articles were sought to answer the review question: Does unresolved moral distress and a poor organizational ethical climate increase nurse turnover? Nine articles met the criteria of the review process. Although the prevailing sentiment was that poor ethical climate and moral distress caused staff turnover, definitive answers to the review question remain elusive because there are limited data that confidently support this statement. (shrink)
Abstract This paper reviews the literature on the moral judgement and development of moral behaviour of mentally retarded individuals. The relative contribution of mental age, chronological age, cognitive functioning, social experience and environmental factors to the moral characteristics of this population is discussed. Relevant studies are described in the light of both the perspectives of cognitive development and of social learning.
This paper sets out to explore connections between a number of plausible claims concerning education in general and moral education in particular: (i) that education is a matter of broad cultural initiation rather than narrow academic or vocational training; (ii) that any education so conceived would have a key concern with the moral dimensions of personal formation; (iii) that emotional growth is an important part of such moral formation; and (iv) that literature and other arts have an important part (...) to play in such emotional education. It is argued here that what is needed for a clear view of the moral educational relevance of literature and the arts is a conception of moral education that does justice to the interplay between the cognitive and the affective in moral life, and that a non?relativist Aristotelian ethics of virtue holds out the best prospect for such a moral education of reason and feeling. (shrink)
Abstract: Certain philosophically inadequate or unclear claims have been made for a connection between moral education and history or literature. These claims have some substance in various rather trite ways to do with factual data, examples of moral codes and situations, and the pursuit of truth, though moral criteria cannot be reduced to historical or literary criteria. However, it is argued that there is a central connection, concerned with the technique of sympathetic imagination, called Verstehen, which is used identically (...) in moral, historical, and literary reasoning; and that certain recommendations for moral education follow from this approach. (shrink)
Rhetorical ethos and dramatic theory -- Syntax, style, and ethos -- The worth of words -- Memory and ethos -- Shaw, ethos, and rhetorical wit -- Athol Fugard's dramatic rhetoric -- Rhetoric and silence in Holocaust drama.
In this essay, I look back at some of the earliest attempts by the first generation of literature-and-medicine scholars to answer the question: Why teach literature and medicine? Reviewing the development of the field in its early years, I examine statements by practitioners to see whether their answers have held up over time and to consider how the rationales they articulated have expanded or changed in the following years and why. Greater emphasis on literary criticism, narrative ethics, narrative (...) theory, and reflective writing has influenced current work in the field in ways that could not have been foreseen in the 1970s. The extraordinary growth of interest and work in the field nationally and, especially since 1996, internationally has included practitioners in many additional areas such as disability studies, film studies, therapeutic writing, and trauma studies. Along with the emergence of narrative medicine, this diverse community of scholars and practitioners—affiliated more through their use of narrative methodologies than the teaching of literature—makes the perennial challenge of evaluation and assessment even more complicated. (shrink)
Skirting the Ethical offers highly original readings of six works, each noted for its politico-ethical stance. The first four (Sophocles' Antigone , Plato's Symposium and Republic and Hamann's "Aesthetica in nuce") have a recognized and honored place in the canon. The last two, Sebald's The Emigrants and Jane Campion's film The Piano , are exemplary for our contemporary scene. Nevertheless, the straightforward assumptions about justice, divine and state power, the good, and identity politics that every reader or viewer inevitably comes (...) upon are disrupted when one takes into account the role of language: both the way in which language is talked about and the way in which it performs. What emerges is a non-prescriptive ethics of another order that offers a resistance to power and simplistic conceptualizations of truth, an emancipation from the "must-be" that implies an ever-to-be-renewed renegotiation—a responsability that has much to do with the act of critique or interpretation. (shrink)
This essay applies a plausible model for moral growth to examples of secular and religious children’s literature. The point is that moral maturation, given this model, requires imaginary worlds on both secular and religious presuppositions. Trying to guide a child’s reading toward either religious or secular books rather than toward good literature is shown therefore to miss the mark of good parenting.
In this essay, then, I would like to address what I believe are the most compelling epistemic arguments against the notion that literature (and art more broadly) can function as an instrument of education and a source of knowledge.
This monumental collection of new and recent essays from an international team of eminent scholars represents the best contemporary critical thinking relating to both literary and philosophical studies of literature. Helpfully groups essays into the field's main sub-categories, among them ‘Relations Between Philosophy and Literature’, ‘Emotional Engagement and the Experience of Reading’, ‘Literature and the Moral Life’, and ‘Literary Language’ Offers a combination of analytical precision and literary richness Represents an unparalleled work of reference for students and (...) specialists alike, ideal for course use. (shrink)
Ideally, good sports literature illuminates the subtle moral contours of sports reality. We ask in this paper how modern Icelandic literature describes sport-related ethical issues and attitudes. Our findings indicate that, in stark contrast to the rampant egocentrism, individual vice and misconduct blighting Icelandic sports reality, modern Icelandic prose literature typically either ignores this reality or refers to sports as if they were in full harmony with idealised ancient virtues and morals. Our conclusion is that this (...) discrepancy admits of four possible interpretations: that (1) theories about the individualism and egocentricity of modernity do not apply in Iceland and in Icelandic sports; (2) the writers are seriously self-deceived; (3) the writers write their books for the deliberate purpose of deceiving the public; (4) the writers write their books for the deliberate purpose of preaching. Our answer is that, while there may be reason to foreground (4), the explanation lies in a combination of those four factors. (shrink)
The book is about three things. First, how Ancient thinkers perceived humans as like or unlike other animals; second about the justification for taking a humane attitude towards natural things; and third about how moral claims count as true, and how they can be discovered or acquired. Was Aristotle was right to see continuity in the psychological functions of animal and human souls? The question cannot be settled without taking a moral stance. As we can either focus on continuity or (...) on discontinuities, how should natural science draw the boundaries? Moral agents act and react in a world that they see under a certain description, and there is no value free science that can settle what is the correct description. This book asks us to think about where moral justification could come from, and suggests that the supposed ‘moral status’ of the object cannot provide the answer. For the moral status of the object is a product of our own imagination, and once we see that, we also see that there remains the question where we ought to have the will to see it. Furthermore, since the perception of moral truth involves the development of imagination and will, the means to attain it will be better served by engagement with poetry and literature than with enquiries that seek to exclude the engagement of the imagination, or any appeal to the beauty of nature or the love of one's fellow creatures. (shrink)