Fact and Value (MGM Chapter 2)

  • Craig Taylor


For Murdoch the importance of the fact–value dichotomy is not to suggest that value is not real. Rather this separation is required in order to keep value pure and untainted with empirical facts. Here Murdoch focuses Kant and Wittgenstein, notably the Wittgenstein of the Tractatus. For both, value appears as an intimation of ‘something higher’. And it is here that Murdoch sees the deeper problem with various forms of the fact–value dichotomy: that in our explanations of human life the essential thing, value, must be built into our model or picture from the start if it is to be ultimately integrated into it at all, but that in doing so we may be accused of what Murdoch calls an unwarranted act of faith or intuition.


  1. Crary, A. 2007. Beyond moral judgment. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Crary, A. 2016. Inside ethics: On the demands of moral thought. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Diamond, C. 1995. The realistic spirit: Wittgenstein, philosophy and the mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  4. 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. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  5. Gaita, R. 2004. Good and evil: An absolute conception, 2nd ed. London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Garner, E., and R. Joyce, eds. 2019. The end of morality: Taking moral abolitionism seriously. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Hooker, B. (ed.). 1996. Truth in ethics. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  8. Kant, I. 1964. Groundwork of the metaphysic of morals, trans. H.J. Paton. New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  9. Murdoch, I. 1956. Vision and choice in morality. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, Supplementary 30: 32–58.Google Scholar
  10. Murdoch, I. 1985. The sovereignty of good. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  11. Murdoch, I. 1992. Metaphysics as a guide to morals (Abbreviated MGM). London: Chatto & Windus.Google Scholar
  12. Schopenhauer, A. 1965. On the basis of morality, trans. E.F.J. Payne. Indianapolis: Bobbs Merill.Google Scholar
  13. Waismann, F. 1979. Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  14. Wittgenstein, L. 1961. Tractatus logico-philosopicus. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  15. Wittgenstein, L. 1968. Philosophical investigations, trans. G.E.M. Anscombe. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  16. Wittgenstein, L. 1979. Notebooks 1914–1916, 2nd ed., trans. G.E.M. Anscombe and ed. G.H. von Wright and G.E.M. Anscombe. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Flinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

Personalised recommendations