Morality as Art: Dewey, Metaphor, and Moral Imagination

[drawn from the later development of these ideas in ch. 6, "The Moral Artist," in John Dewey and Moral Imagination.] It is a familiar thesis that art affects moral imagination. But as a metaphor or model for moral experience, artistic production and enjoyment have been overlooked. This is no small oversight, not because artists are more saintly than the rest of us, but because seeing imagination so blatantly manifested gives us new eyes with which to see what can be made of imagination in everyday life. Artistic creation offers a rich model for understanding the sort of social imagination that is essential to moral deliberation. The " moral " of the arts is that everyday moral decisions can be as richly consummated as artistic productions. The distance is narrowed between this ideal and actual deliberations to the degree that a culture focuses beyond sedimented moral criteria to education of aesthetic virtues of sensitivity, perceptiveness, discernment, creativity, expressiveness, courage, foresight, communicativeness, and experimental intelligence.
Keywords Moral Imagination  John Dewey  Pragmatist ethics  Metaphor  Aesthetics  Morality  Art  Philosophy and Literature  Ethics  Moral Education
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Jeanne Pietig (1977). John Dewey and Character Education. Journal of Moral Education 6 (3):170-180.

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