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Art and Ethical Criticism

Art and Ethical Criticism

Garry L. Hagberg (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-444-30281-3

Feb 2009, Wiley-Blackwell

304 pages


Through a series of essays, Art and Ethical Criticism explores the complex relationship between the arts and morality.
  • Reflects the importance of a moral life of engagement with works of art
  • Forms part of the prestigious New Directions in Aesthetics series, which confronts the most intriguing problems in aesthetics and the philosophy of art today

Notes on Contributors vii

Foreword xi
Garry L. Hagberg

Part I: Historical Foundations 1

1 Is Ethical Criticism a Problem? A Historical Perspective 3
Paul Guyer

Part II: Conceptions of Ethical Content 33

2 Narrative and the Ethical Life 35
Noel Carroll

3 A Nation of Madame Bovarys: On the Possibility and Desirability of Moral Improvement through Fiction 63
Joshua Landy

4 Empathy, Expression, and What Artworks Have to Teach 95
Mitchell Green

Part III: Literature and Moral Responsibility 123

5 "Solid Objects," Solid Objections: On Virginia Woolf and Philosophy 125
Paisley Livingston

6 Disgrace: Bernard Williams and J. M. Coetzee 144
Catherine Wilson

7 Facing Death Together: Camus's The Plague 163
Robert C. Solomon

Part IV: Visual Art, Artifacts, and the Ethical Response 185

8 Staying in Touch 187
Carolyn Korsmeyer

9 Susan Sontag, Diane Arbus, and the Ethical Dimensions of Photography 211
David Davies

10 Ethical Judgments in Museums 229
Ivan Gaskell

Part V: Music and Moral Relations 243

11 Cosi's Canon Quartet 245
Stephen Davies

12 Jazz Improvisation and Ethical Interaction: A Sketch of the Connections 259
Garry L. Hagberg

Index 286

"Hagberg draws together some of the top thinkers in aesthetics to consider the cross-impacts between these philosophical disciplines. The selections are widely representative of approaches to ethical criticism of artworks, and the ethical/aesthetic dimensions of the literary, visual, and auditory arts.” (CHOICE, March 2009)

“Garry Hagberg's new anthology Art and Ethical Criticism consists of twelve new essays—ten by philosophers, one each by an art historian and a professor of French—together with a short foreword. The overall argument that emerges from these essays is that the first, broader topic (the powers and interest of art for human subjects) is more important than the second, narrower topic (the relation between artistic and moral value), and the essays are strongest exactly when they illuminate the powers and interest of art, precisely by not separating the artistic and ethical features of a work sharply from each other.” (Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, January 2009)

  • Provides a timely and philosophically significant contribution to modern aesthetics
  • Features some of the best contemporary work in philosophical studies on literature, moral beliefs, and thinking in art
  • Reflects on the significance of a moral life of engagement with works of art