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Literature and Moral UnderstandingA Philosophical Essay on Ethics, Aesthetics, Education, and Culture$
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Frank Palmer

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198242321

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242321.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 November 2020

The Moral Attitudes

The Moral Attitudes

(p.59) 3 The Moral Attitudes
Literature and Moral Understanding

Frank Palmer

Oxford University Press

In responding to literary fiction, it is essential that people have moral responses to fictional characters. It is unintelligible to suppose that access could be gained to understanding representations of human action by thinking of such action in a way which is radically different from the way one perceives and understands the actions of human beings. Of course, this is assuming that they are indeed understood as actions for them to have any textual or literary function. This chapter focuses on a philosophical digression into a discussion of the moral attitudes and their involvement in interpersonal understanding. Confusion normally occurs in this regard primarily because of the tendency to think that moral evaluation is one way or another distinct from perception and understanding of human conduct.

Keywords:   literary fiction, moral attitudes, fictional characters, blame, feelings, facts, values, moral evaluation

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