Philosophia 35 (2):145-159 (2007)

James Harold
Mount Holyoke College
The topic of this essay is how non-realistic novels challenge our philosophical understanding of the moral significance of literature. I consider just one case: Joseph Heller’s Catch-22. I argue that standard philosophical views, based as they are on realistic models of literature, fail to capture the moral significance of this work. I show that Catch-22 succeeds morally because of the ways it resists using standard realistic techniques, and suggest that philosophical discussion of ethics and literature must be pluralistic if it is to include all morally salient literature, and not just novels in the “Great Tradition” and their ilk.
Keywords Resistance   Ethical Criticism   Genre   Moral Education
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11406-007-9065-9
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Upload history
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Expression of Feeling in Imagination.Richard Moran - 1994 - Philosophical Review 103 (1):75-106.
The Moral Psychology of Fiction.Gregory Currie - 1995 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 73 (2):250 – 259.
The Thread of Life.Richard Wollheim - 1984 - The Personalist Forum 1 (1):55-58.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Moral Persuasion and the Diversity of Fictions.Shen-yi Liao - 2013 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 94 (3):269-289.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
2,359 ( #885 of 2,330,353 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
327 ( #1,011 of 2,330,353 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes