What is there to be experienced in a narrative artwork? Notes for an ethical-aesthetic education

Ixtli 6 (12):191-221 (2019)
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Abstract

Various educational strategies use narrative artworks to pursue ethical training purposes. Based on the works of Dewey and Greene I show how these strategies do not always contribute to an aesthetic education ‒one that promotes experiences with artworks in which we develop sensitivities and capacities necessary to more richly, deeply and intensely experience what these and other artworks have to be experienced‒ and therefore end up having an instrumental use. This is the case with the most commonly used strategies: the exemplary modelling strategy ‒which seeks to inspire students through characters that show an admirable moral character‒ and the moral deliberation strategy ‒which extracts dilemmas or moral problems from which characters from the works face to discuss them with the students. From Diamond’s work I show that, at the same time, it is precisely the non-aesthetic nature of these strategies that limits their chances of becoming a fully fledged ethical education. Hence, ethical education through the narrative arts is only fully developed when it is also an aesthetic education, and aesthetic education in the narrative arts is only fully developed when it also deals with matters of moral significance and is therefore also an ethical education.

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References found in this work

Art as Experience.John Dewey - 1934 - G. Allen & Unwin.
Experience and Education.John Dewey - 1938 - Kappa Delta Pi.
Democracy and Education.John Dewey - 1916 - Dover Publications.
Ethics and the Limits of Philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1987 - Behaviorism 15 (2):179-181.

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