- Everyday Ethics: Morality and the Imagination in Classical American Thought
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 46, Number 3, Summer 2010
- pp. 364-385
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- Additional Information
This article addresses the role of the imagination in moral development, focusing on the writings of Ella Lyman Cabot, a student of Josiah Royce. Her work in the fields of ethics and social-political philosophy, reflected in her Everyday Ethics (1906) complements, and in many cases, anticipates the way in which Dewey, James and Royce describe the imagination as a vital force in our ethical lives. My project is yet another attempt to broaden the scope of the imagination beyond its traditional aesthetic rendering. I aim to situate Cabot's work on the moral imagination in the context of classical American philosophy but also in terms of several broader questions in moral theory, questions that have troubled various figures of the Western philosophical canon, and that may be answered by a reframing of the imagination as an ethical lynchpin. I argue that sympathy, the recognition of moral patience, and our appropriate responses in light of this recognition turn on the workings of the imagination as it has been traditionally construed in the fields of aesthetics and epistemology.