Research Article

Huck Finn, Aristotle, and Anti-Intellectualism in Moral Psychology

James Montmarqueta1 c1

a1 Tennessee State University


Jonathan Bennett, Nomy Arpaly, and others see in Huckleberry Finn's apparent praiseworthiness for not turning Jim in (even though this goes against his own moral judgments in the matter) a model for an improved, non-intellectualist approach to moral appraisal. I try to show – both on Aristotelian and on independent grounds – that these positions are fundamentally flawed. In the process, I try to show how Huck may be blameless for lacking what would have been a praiseworthy belief (that I should help Jim), hence, blameless for not acting on this belief; but being ‘blamelessly unpraiseworthy’ is not the same thing as being praiseworthy.

(Online publication January 05 2012)

James A. Montmarquet is Professor of Philosophy at Tennessee State University, Nashville, Tennessee. He is author of The Idea of Agrarianism, Epistemic Virtue and Doxastic Responsibility, and numerous articles generally concerned with moral and epistemic responsibility.