Iris Murdoch has long been known as one of the most deeply insightful and morally passionate novelists of our time. This attention has often eclipsed Murdoch's sophisticated and influential work as a philosopher, which has had a wide-ranging impact on thinkers in moral philosophy as well as religious ethics and political theory. Yet it has never been the subject of a book-length study in its own right. Picturing the Human seeks to fill this gap. In this groundbreaking book, author Maria (...) Antonaccio presents the first systematic and comprehensive treatment of Murdoch's moral philosophy. Unlike literary critical studies of her novels, it offers a general philosophical framework for assessing Murdoch's thought as a whole. Antonaccio also suggests a new interpretive method for reading Murdoch's philosophy and outlines the significance of her thought in the context of current debates in ethics. This vital study will appeal to those interested in moral philosophy, religious ethics, and literary criticism, and grants those who have long loved Murdoch's novels a closer look at her remarkable philosophy. (shrink)
A Philosophy to Live By highlights Murdoch's distinctive conception of philosophy as a spiritual or existential practice and enlists the resources of her thought to explore a wide range of thinkers and debates at the intersections of moral philosophy, religion, art, and politics.
IN THIS ESSAY I PRESENT NEW RESOURCES FOR THINKING ABOUT THE RElation between asceticism and ethics. The aims of the essay are threefold. The first is to highlight the work of scholars who interpret asceticism within the wider context of theories of moral formation and education in order to call attention to the cultural dimensions of asceticism. The second is to deploy ascetic concepts and tropes to analyze contemporary debates over the ethics of consumption and to suggest that asceticism may (...) have surprising descriptive and diagnostic power in a culture marked by a pervasive consumerism. The third and final aim of the essay is to draw some of the constructive implications of this analysis for the debate over consumption and for the adequacy of naturalist versus nonnaturalist approaches to ethics. (shrink)
This book addresses the interrelation between theological thinking and the complex and diverse realms of human ideals. What are the ideals appropriate to our moment in human history, and how do these ideals derive from or relate to theological reflection in our time? In Theological Reflection and the Pursuit of Ideals internationally renowned scholars from a range of disciplines engage with these crucial questions with the intention of articulating a new and historically appropriate vision of theological reflection and the pursuit (...) of ideals for our global times. (shrink)
The Encyclopedia of Religious Ethics introduces readers to basic issues in moral inquiry, a selection of moral traditions, and surveys a range of moral issues. Each of the three volumes covers one of these three elements of religious ethics, with Volume I focusing on moral inquiry. What distinguishes "religious" ethics from other approaches to ethics is, first and foremost, its connection to the religions. While there is much debate in modern scholarship about the precise meaning of the term "religion" there (...) is at least a widely shared conviction that there are such things as religions, by which is meant social groups and traditions of thought and practice that are in one way or another about the deepest human questions and the ultimate goal(s) of human life, including but not limited to reverence for a divine being or beings. Thought about or practice in relation to what is held to be ultimately real and important seems to be a longstanding feature of human life across historical periods, geography, and cultural traditions. (shrink)
This paper draws from the resources of Iris Murdoch''s moral philosophy to analyze the ethical status of the emotions at two related levels of reflection. Methodologically, it argues that a recovery of the emotions requires a revised notion of moral theory which affirms the basic orientation of consciousness to some notion of value or the good. Such a theory challenges many of the rationalist premises which in the past have led moral theory to reject the role of emotions in ethics. (...) In particular, it acknowledges the centrality of moral psychology to ethics and reclaims the notion of consciousness rather than the will as the primary mode of human moral being. At a second, more substantive level, the paper explores the relation between the emotions and consciousness. Specifically, it defends a cognitivist and reflexive theory of the emotions which affirms a strong relation between the emotions and our evaluative beliefs. On this view, the emotions reflexively mediate our relation to objective value. In order to earn their cognitive status, however, the emotions must be tested in relation to a critical principle in order to guard against the egoistic tendencies of consciousness to build up images of reality to serve its own purposes. Therefore, a theory of the Good must be part of the critical content of a reflexive theory of the emotions. (shrink)
Iris Murdoch's moral philosophy has long influenced contemporary ethics, yet it has not, in general, received the kind of sustained critical attention that it deserves. "Existentialists and Mystics" and "Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals" provide new access to most of Murdoch's philosophical writings and make possible a deeper appreciation of her contribution to current thought. After assessing the recent critical reception of Murdoch's thought, this review places her moral philosophy in the context of contemporary trends in ethics by tracing (...) her influence on the work of Charles Taylor, highlights the distinctive features of her moral philosophy (especially her analysis of consciousness), and suggests future directions for Murdochian ethics. (shrink)
Iris Murdoch's moral philosophy has long influenced contemporary ethics, yet it has not, in general, received the kind of sustained critical attention that it deserves. Existentialists and Mystics and Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals provide new access to most of Murdoch's philosophical writings and make possible a deeper appreciation of her contribution to current thought. After assessing the recent critical reception of Murdoch's thought, this review places her moral philosophy in the context of contemporary trends in ethics by tracing (...) her influence on the work of Charles Taylor, highlights the distinctive features of her moral philosophy (especially her analysis of consciousness), and suggests future directions for Murdochian ethics. (shrink)