Creating cosmopolitans: The case for literature

  • Jollimore T
  • Barrios S
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Abstract

A cosmopolitan education must help us identify with those who are unlike us. In Martha Nussbaums words, students must learn enough to recognize common aims, aspirations, and values, and enough about these common ends to see how variously they are instantiated in the many cultures and their histories. It is commonly thought that reading serious literature will play a significant role in this process. However, this claim is challenged by theorists we call sentimentalists, who claim that the goals of cosmopolitan education are better served by less sophisti- cated, overtly sentimental texts which take a certain moral framework as given and encourage straightforward emotional responses within the guidelines of that framework. This paper critiques the sentimentalists position, arguing that their conception of a sentimental education is inadequate to prepare students for the increasingly diverse, complex, cosmopolitan world their fate it is to inhabit.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Compassion
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Literature
  • Nussbaum,Martha
  • Rorty,Richard
  • Sentimentalism

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Authors

  • Troy Jollimore

  • Sharon Barrios

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