Read another response by Oliver Leaman
As it's the holiday season I've had a definite overdose of holiday mythology. The bit that got me thinking the most was re-encountering the character E. Scrooge, of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol", particularly in light of recent political/economic events in the US. How would a thoughtful philosopher characterize him and Dickens in this book? I'd not like to think that Dickens was engaging in mere sentimentality, that Scrooge is a character suitable merely for children, with no complexity to interest adults (though I'm aware "ACC" is mostly taught at the elementary school level). One of the talk-show hosts, I think it was Bill Maher, recently tried to cast Scrooge as simply a Republican, economically conservative. Is this a fair characterization? If we read the situation sentimentally, it's a moral tale against excessive greed. But the extent to which we should have a sentimental reaction to the economic plight of other people is an unanswered philosophical question, to my view. Is Dickens just being a moralist, trying to indoctrinate us with a simple message, or can Scrooge be read as an interesting character whose beliefs (prior to his conversion) have integrity and consistency?