Cognition and Literary Ethical Criticism

In Frank Zenker (ed.), Argumentation: Cognition & Community. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation [CD-ROM]. Ontario Society for the Study of Argumentation. pp. 1-9 (2011)
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Abstract

“Ethical criticism” is an approach to literary studies that holds that reading certain carefully selected novels can make us ethically better people, e.g., by stimulating our sympathetic imagination (Nussbaum). I try to show that this nonargumentative approach cheapens the persuasive force of novels and that its inherent bias and censorship undercuts what is perhaps the principal value and defense of the novel—that reading novels can be critical to one’s learning how to think.

Author's Profile

Gilbert Edward Plumer
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (PhD)

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