Jean Iris Murdoch was a British philosopher and writer. In the late s, when Murdoch joined University of Cambridge as a student of philosophy, she identified herself as a Platonist.
She disagreed with logical positivism and sided with existentialism school of thought.
J. Krishnamurti & Iris Murdoch - Brockwood Park 1984 - Dialogue 2
Murdoch attempted at making sense of leading a life of Goodness, as a pilgrimage between illusions to the reality of virtue. Murdoch started her philosophical journey by publishing a critique of Jean-Paul Sartre, titled Sartre: Romantic Rationalist , thus initiating a lifelong study of existentialism, criticizing it for inadequately focusing on the Other, and emphasizing greatly on the heroic self.
Pièce de résistance
In a nutshell, Iris Murdoch remains a moral realist. In her paper, titled Dreams and Self-Knowledge , she discusses how Goodness and morality should be perceived.
No existing ethicists have given importance to human beings as they actually are. On the contrary, they focused solely on how they should act, as per Murdoch.
If existence of a moral character is to be believed, then it follows that this character becomes evident on the moment of our action, and this action is a result of a phenomenon which began long ago. Murdoch was of the belief that all are virtues are fruits of a long chain of events leading to the point of exercising of that virtue.
Thus for Murdoch, having a fixed purpose in life, as taught by Aristotle , is the surest way of attaining virtue. Iris Murdoch wrote 26 intelligent novels characterized by their wit, astuteness and complexity.
Based on plots where characters undergo multi-faceted changes with respect to their philosophical positions, they paint a true picture of lives of the middle-class of the twentieth century. In almost all her novels, Murdoch portrays how we humans believe that our actions are in our hands, and that we are free to exercise our choices, but the reality is different.
In her view, all human beings succumb to the power of the unconscious mind, and various other social forces far beyond human control. Famous Philosophers Biography, Facts and Works. Home List Blog Contact.