The emphasis in Martha Nussbaum’s work on the importance of the emotions in moral philosophy also posits that story-telling plays a central role in expanding our empathy and as such is a necessary part of a just society.
….Literature, she argues, is nourishing because it expands our empathy, developing our moral imagination. Empathy is something we practice, and literature helps us to flex this muscle. By encouraging us to exercise our moral imagination, we develop our capacity to more fully put ourselves in another person’s situation and thus those ‘different’ to ourselves in circumstance, identity or practice can no longer be dehumanised or Other-ised as ‘disgusting’ or ‘subhuman’.
Literature, she argues,
is nourishing because it expands
developing our moral imagination.