Iris Murdoch, Philosopher

Paperback | February 16, 2014

EditorJustin Broackes

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Iris Murdoch was a notable philosopher before she was a notable novelist and her work was brave, brilliant, and independent. She made her name first for her challenges to Gilbert Ryle and behaviourism, and later for her book on Sartre (1953), but she had the greatest impact with her work inmoral philosophy - and especially her book The Sovereignty of Good (1970). She turned expectantly from British linguistic philosophy to continental existentialism, but was dissatisfied there too; she devised a philosophy and a style of philosophy that were distinctively her own. Murdoch aimed todraw out the implications, for metaphysics and the conception of the world, of rejecting the standard dichotomy of language into the "descriptive" and the "emotive". She aimed, in Wittgensteinian spirit, to describe the phenomena of moral thinking more accurately than the "linguistic behaviourists" like R. M. Hare. This "empiricist" task could be acheived, Murdoch thought, only with help from the idealist tradition of Kant, Hegel, and Bradley. And she combinedwith this a moral psychology, or theory of motivation, that went back to Plato, but was influenced by Freud and Simone Weil. Murdoch's impact can be seen in the moral philosophy of John McDowell and, in different ways, in Richard Rorty and Charles Taylor, as well as in the recent movements under theheadings of moral realism, particularism, moral perception, and virtue theory. This volume brings together essays by critics and admirers of Murdoch's work, and includes a longer Introduction on Murdoch's career, reception, and achievement. It also contains a previously unpublished chapter from the book on Heidegger that Murdoch had been working on shortly before her death,and a Memoir by her husband John Bayley. It gives not only an introduction to Murdoch's important philosophical life and work, but also a picture of British philosophy in one of its heydays and at an important moment of transition.

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Iris Murdoch was a notable philosopher before she was a notable novelist and her work was brave, brilliant, and independent. She made her name first for her challenges to Gilbert Ryle and behaviourism, and later for her book on Sartre (1953), but she had the greatest impact with her work inmoral philosophy - and especially her book The...

Justin Broackes is Associate Professor at Brown University, Rhode Island. His research interests are History of 17th and 18th century philosophy, topics in ancient philosophy, metaphysics, topics in epistemology and philosophy of mind.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:398 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:February 16, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198701209

ISBN - 13:9780198701200

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Table of Contents

Justin Broackes: IntroductionIris Murdoch: Heidegger: Sein und ZeitJohn Bayley: Iris on Safari1. Peter Conradi: Holy Fool and Magus2. Martha Nussbaum: 'Faint with secret knowledge'3. Maria Antonaccio: The Virtues of Metaphysics4. Richard Moran: Iris Murdoch and Existentialism5. Carla Bagnoli: The Exploration of Moral Life6. Bridget Clarke: Iris Murdoch and the Prospects for Critical Moral Perception7. Margaret Holland: Social Convention and Neurosis as Obstacles to Moral Freedom8. Roger Crisp: Iris Murdoch on Nobility and Moral Value9. Julia Driver: For every Foot its own Shoe10. Lawrence Blum: Visual Metaphors in Iris Murdoch's Moral Philosophy11. Alison Denham: Psychopathy, Empathy, and Moral MotivationBibliographyIndex of Names