Advertisement

Iris Murdoch as Educator

  • Megan Jane Laverty
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, I address the central and vital role of education in Iris Murdoch’s philosophy. Beginning with her (Platonic) idea of life as a spiritual pilgrimage, I consider two aspects of her thinking. First, I examine her belief in the unavoidable nature of morality and explain that it is implied by her commitment to the progressive character of consciousness. Good can be learnt through everything because human experience is formative. Thus, life forces the concept of value upon us. Second, I expand upon Murdoch’s argument that we find evidence, or a kind proof, for the necessity and sovereignty of the Good in our truth-seeking activities. For Murdoch, these activities are analogues of, and exercises in, moral improvement, and they inspire us to recognise an absolute dimension to life.

Notes

Acknowledgements

Thanks to René Arcilla, Diana Barnes, Gillian Dooley, Maughn Rollins Gregory, Nora Hämäläinen, David T. Hansen, Rachel Longa, and Laurance J. Splitter for discussion and helpful comments on earlier drafts.

References

  1. Brewer, T. 2009. The retrieval of ethics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Buchmann, M. 1989. The careful vision: How practical is contemplation in teaching? American Journal of Education 98 (1): 35–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Carson, A. 1995. Plainwater: Essays and poetry. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  4. Casals, P. 1970. Joys and sorrows: His own story as told by Albert Kahn. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  5. Cordner, C. 2009. Waiting, patience, and love. In Waiting, ed. Ghassan Hage, 169–183. Carlton, VIC: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Cordner, C. 2015. Dialectical activity, ritual and value: A critique of Talbot Brewer. Philosophical Investigations 39 (2): 1–14.Google Scholar
  7. Cordner, C. 2016. Lessons of Murdochian attention. Sophia: International Journal for Philosophy of Religion, Metaphysical Theology and Ethics 55 (2): 197–213.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cordner, C., and A. Gleeson. 2016. Cora Diamond and the moral imagination. Nordic Wittgenstein Review 5 (1): 55–77.Google Scholar
  9. Crary, A. 2014. A radical perfectionist: Revisiting Cavell in light of Kant. Journal of Aesthetic Education 48 (3): 87–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Diamond, C. 1996. ‘We are perpetually moralists’: Iris Murdoch, fact, and value. In Iris Murdoch and the search for human goodness, ed. Maria Antonaccio and William Schweiker, 79–109. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dooley, G. 2003. From a tiny corner in the house of fiction: Conversations with Iris Murdoch. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  12. Evans, W. 2009. Iris Murdoch, liberal education and human flourishing. Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (1): 75–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Forsberg, N. 2013. Language lost and found: On Iris Murdoch and the limits of philosophical discourse. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.Google Scholar
  14. Forsberg, N. 2015. The categorical and the everyday: On Coetzee, Murdoch, and Cavell on the presence of philosophy in novels. Philosophy and Literature 39: 66–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Forsberg, N. 2017. M and D and me: Iris Murdoch and Stanley Cavell on perfectionism and self-transformation. Iride: Journal of Philosophy and Public Debate 30 (81): 261–372.Google Scholar
  16. Gaita, R. 1991. Good and evil: An absolute conception. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gaita, R. 2001. The pedagogical power of love. Journal of the Victorian Association for the Teaching of English 37 (2–3): 8–20.Google Scholar
  18. Hämäläinen, N. 2015. Literature and moral theory. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.Google Scholar
  19. Higgins, C. 2018. Education in a minor key. Educational Theory 68 (2): 139–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Holland, R.G. 1980. Against empiricism: On education, epistemology and value. Totowa, NJ: Barnes and Noble.Google Scholar
  21. Horner, A., and A. Rowe (eds.). 2015. Living on paper: Letters from Iris Murdoch, 1934–1995. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Jonas, M. 2016. Three misunderstandings of Plato’s theory of moral education. Educational Theory 66 (3): 301–322.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Laverty, M.J. 2007. Iris Murdoch’s ethics: A consideration of her romantic vision. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  24. Laverty, M.J. 2009. Learning our concepts. Journal of Philosophy of Education 43 (1): 27–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Laverty, M.J. 2015. ‘There is no substitute for a sense of reality’: Humanizing the humanities. Educational Theory 6 (6): 635–654.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lovibond, S. 2007. ‘In spite of the misery of the world’: Ethics, contemplation, and the source of value. In Wittgenstein and the moral life: Essays in honor of Cora Diamond, ed. Alice Crary, 305–326. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology.Google Scholar
  27. MacIntyre, A. 2007. After virtue—A study in moral theory. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press.Google Scholar
  28. McDonough, S. 2000. Iris Murdoch’s notion of attention: Seeing the moral life in teaching. Philosophy of Education Society 2000: 217–225.Google Scholar
  29. Moyal-Sharrock, D. 2012. Cora Diamond and the ethical imagination. British Journal of Aesthetics 52 (3): 223–240.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Murdoch, I. 1993. Metaphysics as a guide to morals. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  31. Murdoch, I. 1997. Existentialists and mystics: Writings on philosophy and literature, ed. Peter Conradi. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  32. Murdoch, I. 1998. Occasional essays by Iris Murdoch, ed. Yozo Muroya and Paul Hullah. Okayama: University Education Press.Google Scholar
  33. Nakazawa, Y.M. 2018. Iris Murdoch’s critique of three dualisms in moral education. Journal of Philosophy of Education: Early Access 52 (3): 397–411.Google Scholar
  34. Olsson, A.-L. 2018. A moment of letting go: Iris Murdoch and the morally transformative process of unselfing. Journal of Philosophy of Education 52 (1): 163–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Plato. 1972. Protagoras and Meno, trans. W.K.C. Guthrie. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  36. Rousseau, J.-J. 1992. The reveries of the solitary walker, trans. Charles E. Butterworth. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company.Google Scholar
  37. Sacks, O. 1999. Brilliant light: A chemical boyhood. New Yorker, 20 December.Google Scholar
  38. Weil, S. 1951. Reflections on the right use of school studies with a view to the love of God. In Waiting for God, trans. Emma Crauford, 57–66. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.Google Scholar
  39. Weil, S. 2015. Simone Weil: Later philosophical writings, trans. Eric O. Springsted and Lawrence E. Schmidt. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. 1965. A lecture on ethics. The Philosophical Review 74 (1): 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Yoda, K. 2017. An approach to Simone Weil’s philosophy of education through the notion of reading. Studies in Philosophy and Education 36 (6): 663–682.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zwicky, Jan. 2015. Alcibiades’ love. In Philosophy as a Way of Life: Ancients and Moderns—Essays in Honour of Pierre Hadot, ed. M. Chase, S.R.L. Clarke, and M. McGhee, 283–298. Wiley Blackwell.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Megan Jane Laverty
    • 1
  1. 1.Teachers College, Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations