UW in the Classroom

Plato argued about art: “. . . poets may stay as servants of the state if they teach piety and virtue, but the pleasures of art are the condemned and inherently corrupting to citizens . . .”  He believes art is false because it comes from earth, and on earth the best a human can do is, “. . .hold the mirror up to nature: They copy appearances of men, animals, and objects in the phyiscal world . . . and the intelligence that went into its creation involve nothing more than conjecture {guessing}”

In UW we will practice what Plato and Aristotle called Moral Criticism, “the value of a work to promote a moral or lesson.”  The lesson could be good or bad.  A good lesson can be the result of a bad story, and visa-versa.  It’s called Catharsis — an emotional reaction that promotes an emotional changed. 

In either case, our job (as citizens, prisoners, and consumers) is to discover the message, or prepare ourselves to see it.  In class, we will do this through case studies: evaluating entertainment according to our moral-ethical schools.

Is Lying Ever Good?

As you become a critic, you need to know your outside voices.  In your case:

  • PlatoPaternal Lie
  • NietzscheBlue-Eyed Lie
  • KantOught Implies Can
  • RichDestruction of Intimacy
  • BonhoefferLiving Truth
  • MachiavelliSituational Ethics

And you need to know your own perspective:

Decision Making Schools                                        Decision Making Motives

Religious                                                                      Moralsright and wrong are stable identifiable

Ethics                                                                           Virtuescharacter determines right or wrong

Legal/Rules                                                                  Outcomesconsequences determine its worth

Scientific                                                                      Principlesdo not harm to others

                                                                                     Carecare for underrepresented


In one deductive (answer at the beginning) They Say/I Say Paragraph, answer the following question:

What are the consequences of Walter White’s action, and was he right to do what he did?

You must use one perspective from above, Walter’s actions/consequences of his actions (They Say) and critique it from your decision making model.  (It must be from your ethical perspective, which means you will have to wrestle with any inconsistencies).