Constrained by Reason, Transformed by Love: Murdoch on the Standard of Proof

  • Carla Bagnoli
Part of the Philosophers in Depth book series (PID)


According to Iris Murdoch, the chief experience in morality is loving attention. Her view calls into question the Kantian account of the standard of moral authority, and ultimately denies that reason might provide moral discernment, validate moral experience, or drive us toward moral progress. Like Kant, Murdoch defines the moral experience as the subjective experience of freedom, which resists any reductivist approach. Unlike Kant, she thinks that this free agency is unprincipled. Some of her arguments are based on an oversimplified account of Kant’s theory of reflective agency and discount the discipline of reason, thereby nullifying its practical import. However, Murdoch’s work offers a distinctive view of the standard of proof as a “moral proof”, which rehabilitates the transformative power of love and represents a genuine alternative to theories of practical reason as well as to reductivist empiricist views of the mind.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla Bagnoli
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Modena and Reggio EmiliaModenaItaly
  2. 2.University of OsloOsloNorway

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