The lure of evil: exploring moral formation on the dark side of literature and the arts

Davis, R. and Carr, D. (2007) The lure of evil: exploring moral formation on the dark side of literature and the arts. Journal of the Philosophy of Education, 41(1), pp. 95-112. (doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9752.2007.00541.x)

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The moral potential of works of art, for good or ill, has been recognised from philosophical antiquity: on the assumption that the moral effects of art are invariably negative, Plato advised the exclusion of artists from any rationally ordered state. Arguably, however, the problem of the moral status of art has become yet more acute in contexts of post-Romantic and other modern artistic exploration of moral ambiguity, and even of some apparent contemporary celebration of the immoral and amoral. Indeed, some tension between commitment to liberal-democratic openness and freedom, on the one hand, and fear about the potential literary and artistic corruption of the young, on the other, is evident in latter-day moralistic trends in children's literature. However, in the light of some basic exploration of conceptual relationships between the artistic, the aesthetic and the moral, this paper argues that such moralising trends in particular and arguments for artistic censorship in general are mostly wrongheaded and unsustainable.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Davis, Professor Robert
Authors: Davis, R., and Carr, D.
Subjects:L Education > L Education (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Education > People, Place & Social Change
Journal Name:Journal of the Philosophy of Education
ISSN (Online):1467-9752
Published Online:10 April 2007

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