Literature and Moral Theory: New Book by Nora Hämäläinen


Congratulations to Nora Hämäläinen! Her new book promises to be of great interest to OLP&Lit readers.

From the publisher:

ABOUT: Literature and Moral Theory investigates how literature, in the past 30 years, has been used as a means for transforming the Anglo-American moral philosophical landscape, which until recently was dominated by certain ways of “doing theory”. It illuminates the unity of the overall agenda of the ethics/literature discussion in Anglo-American moral philosophy today, the affinities and differences between the separate strands discernible in the discussion, and the relationship of the ethics/literature discussion to other (complexly overlapping) trends in late-20th century Anglo-American moral philosophy: neo-Aristotelianism, post-Wittgensteinian ethics, particularism and anti-theory. It shows why contemporary philosophers have felt the need for literature, how they have come to use it for their own (philosophically radical) purposes of understanding and argument, and thus how this turn toward literature can be used for the benefit of a moral philosophy which is alive to the varieties of lived morality.


Chapter 1: A Literary Turn in a Neo-Aristotelian Framework
Chapter 2: Literature, Moral Particularism and Anti-Theory
Chapter 3: Generality in Literature
Chapter 4: Between Literature and Theory: Nussbaum and Murdoch
Chapter 5: Literature as Critique of Moral Theory

REVIEWS: “This is a sympathetic but clear-eyed critical evaluation of recent explorations of the relevance of literature to moral philosophy. Its insightful mapping of the territory brings out important differences between the main participants, and suggests one way in which they might be reconciled without sacrificing their emancipatory effect on the future conduct of ethical reflection.” –  Stephen Mulhall, Fellow and Tutor in Philosophy, New College, University of Oxford, UK

“Some of the most fundamental challenges to analytic ethics have come from moral philosophers who believe literature holds forth the promise of transforming received views of what moral thought is like, and of the kinds of difficulties it presents. Hämäläinen’s Literature and Moral Theory offers an insightful and encompassing tour of this ‘turn to literature,’ describing with particular grace and thoughtfulness the writings of Iris Murdoch and Martha Nussbaum, two of this movement’s most significant figures.” –  Alice Crary, Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy, New School for Social Research, USA

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