Good, Self, and Unselfing - Reflections on Iris Murdoch"s Moral Philosophy

Ruokonen, Floora (2002) Good, Self, and Unselfing - Reflections on Iris Murdoch"s Moral Philosophy. In: UNSPECIFIED Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, pp. 211-213.


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When discussing Iris Murdoch"s moral philosophy it is often easiest to start by saying what she is opposing. Such is the case also in this paper, which concerns Murdoch"s views of our identity as persons or "selves�. The good enemy against which Murdoch writes is what she calls the "current�, the "modern�, or the "liberal� view of morals. This is a view whose essential features are shared by such apparently quite different philosophers as, for example, R. M. Hare or J. P. Sartre, and whose ancestors are Hume, Kant and Mill (VC, 34). One of the several critical characterizations Murdoch applies to the picture of the individual contained in this view is "existentialist�. In Murdoch"s account, such philosophers as Sartre, who claims the title, as well as others who do not, are existentialist when they emphasize the solitary omnipotent will at the cost of the substantial self, that is, if they identify "the true person with the empty choosing will� (S, 9, 35). Murdoch"s objection to this picture might be put as follows: by making morality a matter of a solitary choosing will, the view neglects ordinary human moral experience and instead builds an empty abstraction which it then elevates into a "man-God�, the moral super hero of modern times.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Concept of Good; Concept of Self; Murdoch; I.;
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Journale, Kongresse, Vereinigungen > Wittgenstein Symposium Kirchberg, Pre-Proceedings > Kirchberg 2002
Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Allgemeine Ethik
Depositing User: Stefan Köstenbauer
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2007
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2011 18:52

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