Virtue, situationism, and the cognitive value of art

The Monist 99 (2):144-158 (2016)
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Abstract

Virtue-based moral cognitivism holds that at least some of the value of some art consists in conveying knowledge about the nature of virtue and vice. We explore here a challenge to this view, which extends the so-called situationist challenge to virtue ethics. Evidence from social psychology indicates that individuals’ behavior is often susceptible to trivial and normatively irrelevant situational influences. This evidence not only challenges approaches to ethics that emphasize the role of virtue but also undermines versions of moral cognitivism, because the value of art cannot consist in teaching us about traits that do not exist. We thus recommend a new account of the cognitive value of art: art teaches how context and character interact to produce action.

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Author Profiles

Mark Alfano
Macquarie University
Jacob Berger
Lycoming College

Citations of this work

Aesthetic Cognitivism and Serialized Television Fiction.Iris Vidmar Jovanović - 2023 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 81 (1):69-79.

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References found in this work

On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Intelligent Virtue.Julia Annas - 2011 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View.Christine Swanton - 2003 - Oxford, GB: Clarendon Press.

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