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The Cider House Rules, through the attitudes and fates of its characters, teaches us general truths about the proper uses of rules in practical and moral reasoning. By reflecting on the narrative, we can see that rules must reflect proper distributions of authority in order to be effective, that when they do, they can solve collective action problems, that legitimate rules must sometimes be disobeyed, but also must sometimes supplant personal judgments about best courses of action. Novels can motivate us to reflect on and follow such moral lessons. Their use in teaching ethics is not limited to improving our perceptions of complex particular morally charged situations, as others have claimed.