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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

Bad Morality, Bad Art?

Bad Morality, Bad Art?

(p.154) 7 Bad Morality, Bad Art?
Literature and Moral Understanding

Frank Palmer

Oxford University Press

There is commonly a dilemma whenever the interest in literature is not a moral interest. To apprehend a work of literature as a work of art is not to regard it solely as a vehicle for moral instruction or moral enlightenment, nor would it be appropriate to appraise a work on the basis of its alleged moral message. However, on the other hand, it is normal that a literary work will express some attitude to human life, or to an aspect of it, and therefore has a moral dimension. In this case, no work can be ethically neutral. Therefore, it is important to draw a distinction between agreement and acceptance, in which, acceptance is not so tightly related to belief.

Keywords:   literature, morality, evil, love, moral instruction, moral responsibility, negativity, art, agreement, acceptance

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