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Fields of Force: Murdoch on Axioms, Duties, and Eros (MGM Chapter 17)

  • Mark Hopwood
Chapter

Abstract

Iris Murdoch’s interpreters have often tried to read her as putting forward an alternative form of ethical foundationalism. On this reading, Murdoch is taken to be proposing ‘loving attention’ or ‘the Good’ as a fundamental moral principle that would play the same unifying role as the principle of utility or the categorical imperative. Here, I argue that a careful reading of chapter 17 of Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals shows that the foundationalist reading is untenable. Murdoch, I suggest, is better understood as a methodological descriptivist. She is not simply offering us an alternative moral theory, but a radically different approach to the business of moral philosophy itself.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Hopwood
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of the SouthSewaneeUSA

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