Iris Murdoch’s Ontological Argument (MGM Chapter 13)

  • Andrew Gleeson


Iris Murdoch develops a version of the Ontological Argument as a moral argument for the existence of a transcendent and perfect Platonic Good. I argue that her version of the argument over-emphasises moral goodness as a distant and intangible ideal to which we are inevitably attracted, and towards which we may progress, but which, apart from occasional revelations in saintly lives and great art, is normally only available in glimpses and intimations, and which remains mysterious. The argument is better construed as concerning the moral reality of human beings as sacred or inviolable, and the moral demands this makes upon us—a reality that is proximate, palpable, inescapable and highly familiar.



I am grateful for earlier comments on this paper by Nora Hämäläinen, and to discussions with David Cockburn and Christopher Cordner.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Gleeson
    • 1
  1. 1.Flinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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