Children's film as an instrument of moral education

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This paper explores two philosophical treasures that we often neglect: the moral faculties of children and the pedagogic virtues of film. My thesis consists of three primary claims: (1) when properly educated, children are capable of thinking critically about ethical issues; (2) moral edification ought to have the dual aims of developing this capacity and educating the emotions; and (3) given these aims, the children's film genre is a surprisingly apposite tool for aiding the moral instruction of pre-adolescents. I advance arguments for positions (1), (2) and (3), while considering objections to each view. I conclude the paper by illustrating how one film, the 2007 Disney Production, Bridge to Terabithia, exemplifies the instructional virtues enumerated in (2).

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of California at Riverside, USA

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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