Journal of Philosophy in Schools 5 (1):92-110 (2018)

Andrew H. Peterson
George Mason University
Laura D'Olimpio
University of Birmingham
Following neo-Aristotelians Alasdair MacIntyre and Martha Nussbaum, we claim that humans are story-telling animals who learn from the stories of diverse others. Moral agents use rational emotions, such as compassion which is our focus here, to imaginatively reconstruct others’ thoughts, feelings and goals. In turn, this imaginative reconstruction plays a crucial role in deliberating and discerning how to act. A body of literature has developed in support of the role narrative artworks (i.e. novels and films) can play in allowing us the opportunity to engage imaginatively and sympathetically with diverse characters and scenarios in a safe protected space that is created by the fictional world. By practising what Nussbaum calls a ‘loving attitude’, her version of ethical attention, we can form virtuous habits that lead to phronesis (practical wisdom). In this paper, and taking compassion as an illustrative focus, we examine the ways that students’ moral education might usefully develop from engaging with narrative artworks through Philosophy for Children (P4C), where philosophy is a praxis, conducted in a classroom setting using a Community of Inquiry (CoI). We argue that narrative artworks provide useful stimulus material to engage students, generate student questions, and motivate philosophical dialogue and the formation of good habits which, in turn, supports the argument for philosophy to be taught in schools.
Keywords moral education  P4C  narrative  compassion  CoI  philosophy of education
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.21913/JPS.v5i1.1487
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1983 - University of Notre Dame Press.
After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Samuel Scheffler - 1983 - Philosophical Review 92 (3):443.
Philosophy in the Classroom.Matthew Lipman - 1977 - Temple University Press.
Upheavals of Thought: The Intelligence of Emotions.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):458-464.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Philosophy and the Good Life.Angela Hobbs - 2018 - Journal of Philosophy in Schools 5 (1):20-37.
Character Education, the Individual and the Political.Andrew Peterson - 2020 - Journal of Moral Education 49 (2):143-157.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Compassion and Beyond.Roger Crisp - 2008 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 11 (3):233-246.
Introduction: Narratives in Ethics of Education.Susan Verducci - 2014 - Studies in Philosophy and Education 33 (6):575-585.
Rousseau and the Education of Compassion.Richard White - 2008 - Philosophy of Education 42 (1):35-48.
Rousseau and the Education of Compassion.Richard White - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 42 (1):35-48.
Compassion: An Aristotelian Approach.Trudy C. Conway - 2001 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 8 (1):1-6.
Can Compassion Be Taught?G. E. Pence - 1983 - Journal of Medical Ethics 9 (4):189-191.
Compassion: An Aristotelian Approach.Trudy C. Conway - 2001 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 8 (1):1-6.


Added to PP index

Total views
355 ( #21,264 of 2,403,516 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
107 ( #5,663 of 2,403,516 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes