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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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Learning From Literature

Learning From Literature

Chapter:
(p.181) 8 Learning From Literature
Source:
Literature and Moral Understanding
Author(s):

Frank Palmer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198242321.003.0008

When asked what is learned in literature, the most often given answer is that it is dependent upon what is read, by whom, and in what spirit. However, the point in question in this chapter focuses on two aspects: what literature can contribute to education and what literature can contribute to moral education. In exploring these two points, there is a risk of conflating two different things: the importance or value of literature and its educative power and the independent value or importance it has regardless of its educative function. While the distinction between the educational value and moral education value is not totally separate and there are indeed some relations in some way, certainly literature should not be considered as mere device for moral instruction or a fuel for the cause.

Keywords:   spirit, education, moral education, literature, moral instruction, cognitivist theory, moral understanding, value, morality, language

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