Journal of Philosophy of Education 51 (2):370-386 (2017)

For millennia it has been discussed whether literature appropriately can or should be used in education for a moral purpose. Taking as a premise that it can actually be educative and not merely moralising, we tackle the case made against such use, based on the claim that it would be perverting the aesthetic nature of literature as a form of art, as it would be instrumentalised. Given that this claim is based on a dichotomy between an aesthetically educative approach and a morally educative approach to literature, we examine how warranted such a formulation of this dichotomy is. We argue that, at least on some occasions, those two educative approaches to literature—the aesthetic and the moral—can actually be mutually reinforcing in such a way that aesthetic appreciation will suffer if the moral is not deeply examined with both mind and heart, and vice versa. This does not mean, however, that this relation of mutual contribution will always obtain in a neat way. It may actually be the case that just in a few cases, and only if carried out in a pedagogically appropriate manner, it will be correct to use literature with a morally educative purpose.
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DOI 10.1111/1467-9752.12237
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