Iris Murdoch as Educator

  • Megan Jane Laverty


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.



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.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

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