Presentation Title

D-3 The Moral Realism of Iris Murdoch

Presenter Information

Ante Jeroncic, Andrews University

Presenter Status

Department of Religion

Location

Buller Room 208

Start Date

1-11-2013 3:30 PM

End Date

1-11-2013 3:45 PM

Presentation Abstract

Even a scant acquaintance with current cultural and philosophical trends will readily point to a widespread predilection for subjectivist forms of moral reasoning. By “subjectivist” I refer to various non-cognitivist and constructionist paradigms in moral philosophy and popular parlance that reduce ethical statements to expressions of individual or collective preferences, feelings, or prejudices stripped of any object-given normativity. Furthermore, various poststructuralist and postcolonial “genealogies” tie the language of morality to discourses of power, patriarchy, and totalitarian agency. The conventional presumption informing such misgivings is that the quest for moral objectivism, and ethical norms in general, is either impossible or exclusionary, or perhaps both. My research project seeks to engage such criticisms through a critical exploration of Iris Murdoch’s moral philosophy and her particular form of Platonism. I argue that Murdoch’s thought presents a helpful corrective to voluntarist approaches to ethics and that her defense of metaphysical realism and transcendence offers fruitful avenues for theologians to engage her thought, including Adventist ones.

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Nov 1st, 3:30 PM Nov 1st, 3:45 PM

D-3 The Moral Realism of Iris Murdoch

Buller Room 208

Even a scant acquaintance with current cultural and philosophical trends will readily point to a widespread predilection for subjectivist forms of moral reasoning. By “subjectivist” I refer to various non-cognitivist and constructionist paradigms in moral philosophy and popular parlance that reduce ethical statements to expressions of individual or collective preferences, feelings, or prejudices stripped of any object-given normativity. Furthermore, various poststructuralist and postcolonial “genealogies” tie the language of morality to discourses of power, patriarchy, and totalitarian agency. The conventional presumption informing such misgivings is that the quest for moral objectivism, and ethical norms in general, is either impossible or exclusionary, or perhaps both. My research project seeks to engage such criticisms through a critical exploration of Iris Murdoch’s moral philosophy and her particular form of Platonism. I argue that Murdoch’s thought presents a helpful corrective to voluntarist approaches to ethics and that her defense of metaphysical realism and transcendence offers fruitful avenues for theologians to engage her thought, including Adventist ones.