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Engaging with Counter-Moral Fictions: A Contextual Approach

Clavel Vazquez, Adriana (2016) Engaging with Counter-Moral Fictions: A Contextual Approach. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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In order to understand our complex engagement with counter-moral fictions, and to assess it adequately, we must acknowledge that there are different types of counter-moral fictions. In particular, there is an important distinction between fictional and actual immorality in countermoral fictions. Appreciators engage with fictional immorality because the affective responses elicited by the narrative allow for a discontinuity in their evaluative attitudes. While these affective responses constitute genuine emotions, they contrast with the emotions appreciators would normally experience in real-life scenarios that involve moral deviance. This is possible because the criteria governing emotional responses to merely fictional immorality do not include ethical appropriateness. Further, the distinction between fictional and actual immorality not only impacts how appreciators engage with counter-moral fictions, but how we should assess both the works and our imaginative and emotional engagement with them. Only instances of actual immorality can be legitimate candidates to be ethically criticised; but this ethical assessment depends on the extra-fictional commitments of the attitude expressed by the work. For this reason, the ethical assessment of actual immorality can only be understood as an extrinsic assessment of the work in a specific context that gives the work certain extra-fictional pretensions. We should thus defend contextual autonomism in regards to the ethical criticism of fiction. Finally, appreciators’ responses to fiction can only be legitimately ethically assessed when they are expressive of their actual attitudes and motivations. Nevertheless, in these cases the object of the ethical assessment are not the responses to fiction, but appreciators’ actual character. Therefore responses to fiction cannot be assessed qua responses to fiction, and we should defend response amoralism.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Arts and Humanities (Sheffield) > Philosophy (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.702639
Depositing User: ms Adriana Clavel Vazquez
Date Deposited: 03 Feb 2017 13:47
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:34
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/16077

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