Are Moral Conversions Possible?

David B. Wong

in In Search of Goodness

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780226306834
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226306858 | DOI:
Are Moral Conversions Possible?

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This chapter investigates in detail three exemplary cases: the fictional Stasi agent who is the protagonist of the film The Lives of Others; Oskar Schindler; and C. P. Ellis, who left the Klan and became friends with a militant black activist. The film The Lives of Others, about Gerd Wiesler, showed the human hopes for the possibility of moral conversion. Schindler's “freelance” relationship with power structures appeared important in explaining his conversion. The discontinuities that make his story one of moral conversion are underlain by continuities which help to make the conversion intelligible. Ellis sought recognition and respect in a society whose authority structures were changing, and that allowed him to recognize how he and others like him had been used and deceived. In general, the stories of conversion presented indicate inquiry into the ways moral education can engage emotion as well as critical reflection and inquiry.

Keywords: moral conversion; Lives of Others; Oskar Schindler; C. P. Ellis; Gerd Wiesler; moral education

Chapter.  13874 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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