Sam Goldberg


Does Reading Literature Make You More Moral? - Abstract


            Don Quixote, the protagonist of what is considered to be the very first modern novel, went insane from reading too many books. Scholars are now asking, do works of fiction really do us any good? Stanford recently addressed this question at an ethics conference, during which three esteemed panelists answered the question in unique ways. David Kidd, a man on his way to receiving a PhD, discussed his empirical research that proved an increase in the ability to understand diverse perspectives after reading works of fiction. Professor Paula Moya addressed the ambiguousness of the term “morality,” and instead questioned the way literature works to help us decide what we think is moral rather than improving the morals we already have. And Professor Joshua Landy argued that fiction should be far removed from the notion of morality. In order to relate all of the arguments together to reach some kind of graspable conclusion, the next step is to map out the definition of morality, and to see how it applies to fiction, and what the effects are if we force it into fiction.