How Admiring Moral Exemplars Can Ruin Your Life: the Case of Conrad's Lord Jim.

Alan Price Thomas, Alfred Archer, Bart Engelen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


What role should the emulation of exemplars play in moral theory? While we concede that emulation has an important role to play in moral education, in this paper we focus on how emulation can also be one form of moral error. We examine Conrad's Lord Jim, a novel in which the eponymous hero's attempt to emulate heroic behaviour leads to moral disaster. Trying to copy a hero undermines Jim's ability to respond appropriately to ethical challenges culminating in his own unnecessary death.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Moral Psychology of Admiration
EditorsAlfred Archer, Andre Grahle
PublisherRowman & Littlefield
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-78660-769-0
ISBN (Print)1786607689, 978-1-78660-768-3
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2019

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