Can Literature be Moral Philosophy? A Sceptical View on the Ethics of Literary Empathy

In Sebastian Hüsch (ed.), Philosophy and Literature and the Crisis of Metaphysics (2011)
Download Edit this record How to cite View on PhilPapers
Abstract
One important aspect of Nussbaum´s thesis on the moral value of literature concerns the power of literature to enhance our ability to empathise with other minds. This aspect will be the focus of the current article. My aim is to reflect upon this question regarding the moral value of our empathy for fictional characters. The article is structured in two main parts. I will first examine the concept of “empathy” and distinguish between empathy for human beings and empathy for fictional characters. I will call the latter “literary empathy”. In the second part of the paper I will examine the arguments for and against the double thesis that reading literature enhances our ability to feel empathy, and that feeling empathy prompts altruistic behaviour.
PhilPapers/Archive ID
VENCLB
Upload history
Archival date: 2020-02-11
View other versions
Added to PP index
2011-11-25

Total views
97 ( #39,526 of 57,106 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
34 ( #22,665 of 57,106 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads since first upload
This graph includes both downloads from PhilArchive and clicks on external links on PhilPapers.