Philosophers frequently attempt to achieve clarity about particular problems in moral philosophy both by modeling specific hypothetical cases very exactly and by turning to literature for examples. Ferguson here relies on some of the work of Bernard Williams, Donald Davidson, and Candace Vogler to treat their various suggestions about moral problems and how literature might serve them. In particular, she observes that each of these philosophers suggests how modern moral thought, which Williams sees as dominated by a progressivist account of its own history, arrives at less comprehensive clarity than it sometimes claims to do. She further notices how far their views take comfort from aspects of literature that do not revolve around the promulgation of readerly omniscience that attaches to the novel in modernity.
Frances Ferguson; What Should I Do and What Was I Thinking? Philosophical Examples and the Uses of the Literary. boundary 2 1 May 2013; 40 (2): 9–23. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/01903659-2151776
Download citation file: