Huck Finn and Moral Argument

Teaching Philosophy 25 (3):227-236 (2002)
Drawing upon Jonathan Bennett’s article “The Conscience of Huckleberry Finn,” a work which claims to show the role that emotions play in moral argument, this paper more closely considers the contextual clues of "Huck Finn" to determine the moral commitments that truly guide Huck’s thinking about moral principles. In opposition to Bennett’s reading of Twain, the paper argues that it is Huck’s application of his morality that is bad, and so his moral behavior cannot be explained by acting purely out of sympathy. In addition, to arguing for this alternative reading of Twain’s work, the paper points out how Huck’s reasoning about moral principles can be used to fend off ethical nihilism and is analogous to Galileo’s thought experiment concerning motion
Keywords Teaching Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0145-5788
DOI 10.5840/teachphil200225332
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