On the Repulsive Rapist and the Difference between Morality in Fiction and Real Life

Vaage, Margrethe Bruun (2015) On the Repulsive Rapist and the Difference between Morality in Fiction and Real Life. In: Zunshine, Lisa, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Literary Studies. Oxford University Press. (doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199978069.013.0021) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199978069.0...

Abstract

There are many murderer protagonists in recent American television series. Rape, however, is most often used to mark a character as clearly villainous—and more so than a murderer. This chapter argues that rape is morally disgusting. Nonetheless, in real life laws rape is not in the same way marked as being worse than murder. This chapter suggests that the explanation for this asymmetry between fiction and real-life moral psychology is that we as spectators rely more heavily on moral emotions when engaging in fiction, and that rape is emotionally disturbing in a way that murder need not be. Our attitude towards the rapist as repulsive becomes more evident when we engage in fiction. This points to a difference between the morality activated by fiction and the morality activated by real-life events.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: moral psychology, fiction, rape, moral disgust, American television series
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of Arts > Film
Depositing User: Margrethe Bruun Vaage
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2015 11:32 UTC
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2015 13:08 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/48006 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
ORCiD (Vaage, Margrethe Bruun): http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7608-0025
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