Date of Award
Colby College. Philosophy Dept.
Jill P. Gordon
James C. Barrett
Lydia L. Moland
In an extended piece of speculative fiction (specifically, a cross between the sword-and-sorcery and superhero genres), I try to explore the complexities of ethical deliberation in difficult circumstances. Through my protagonist I also present an “alternative” to Enlightenment ethics. I’ve referred to this alternative as an “ethics of the badass and the beautiful,” a little (but only a little) jokingly.
The reason for doing all of this through fiction, and not a conventional philosophical paper, is that I believe my ethical education started in stories, and it’s still in good stories and the creative exploration of concretely realized personalities (as opposed to abstract thought experiments) that I find the most interesting insights concerning the two Big Questions in ethics:
What sort of person should I be? And what sort of life should I lead?
Often, of course, the insights in stories lead to more questions, or are questions themselves, but that’s not so bad. I don’t want to say that those Big Questions should keep you up every night, but I also don’t think that answering them definitively is an easy or simple endeavor. Indeed, I think most people who reflect on it at length know that it isn’t. And I think stories, more so than theoretical work, speak to this.
And apart from the philosophical reasons for writing a swords-and-superheroes story, I figured it would be a lot more fun. And I was (mostly) right. Not that theoretical work isn’t important. It’s very important. But it can’t stand alone.
philosophical fiction, superhero, philosophy, creative writing, ethics
Recommended CitationMiranda, Kris, "Break the Sky: an exploration of ethics with swords and superheroes" (2009). Honors Theses. Paper 488.
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