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Huck Finn, Aristotle, and Anti-Intellectualism in Moral Psychology

  • James Montmarquet (a1)

Jonathan Bennett, Nomy Arpaly, and others see in Huckleberry Finn's apparent praiseworthiness for not turning Jim in (even though this goes against his own moral judgments in the matter) a model for an improved, non-intellectualist approach to moral appraisal. I try to show – both on Aristotelian and on independent grounds – that these positions are fundamentally flawed. In the process, I try to show how Huck may be blameless for lacking what would have been a praiseworthy belief (that I should help Jim), hence, blameless for not acting on this belief; but being ‘blamelessly unpraiseworthy’ is not the same thing as being praiseworthy.

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Nomy Arpaly , ‘Moral Worth’, The Journal of Philosophy 99 (2002), 223–45

Alan Goldman , ‘Huckleberry Finn and Moral Motivation’, Philosophy and Literature 34 (2010), 116

Stephen Hetherington , ‘Epistemic Responsibility: A Dilemma’, The Monist 85 (2002), 398415

Ishtiyaque Haji , ‘An Epistemic Dimension of Blameworthiness’, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 57 (1997), 523544

Stephen Hudson , ‘Reason and Motivation in Aristotle’, Canadian Journal of Philosophy 11 (1981), 111125

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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