Cultivating Moral Sensibilities through Aesthetic Education: The Power of Everyday Cosmopolitanism

By Suzanne S. Choo.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In considering the brutal reality of the Holocaust, this paper begins by examining the startling paradox in Immanuel Kant’s claim that exposure to the beautiful can cultivate moral sensibilities. The paper proceeds to argue that Kant’s aesthetic grounding in subjective universality not only rationalizes how the beautiful can foster an attunement towards moral purposes, it also highlights how the transition from sensible to supersensible can be obstructed when it is not framed by disinterestedness. This then provides powerful implications for the mediation of aesthetic education as a catalyst in facilitating the symbolic transition from engaging in the beautiful to engaging in moral contemplation. At the same time, such a transition presents a dilemma for aesthetic education since it seems inconceivable to argue that the cultivation of aesthetic judgment in the artificial setting of a classroom should be driven purely by disinterestedness.

Keywords: Cosmopolitanism, Aesthetic Education, Morality and Ethics

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.109-118. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 632.793KB).

Suzanne S. Choo

PhD Candidate, English Education, Teachers College Columbia University, New York, New York, USA

Suzanne Choo is a PhD candidate in English Education at Teachers College Columbia University. Previously, she lectured in the teaching of Literature at the English Language and Literature Academic Group, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. Her interests are in the areas of Transnational Literature, cosmopolitanism, ethics and ethical criticism. She recently published the article “The role of visual thinking” in the English Journal and co-wrote the book “Reel world Learning: Integrating media in the English classroom” published by McGraw-Hill.

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