Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals Hardcover – 8 Oct 1992
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"This is philosophy dragged from the cloister, dusted down and made freshly relevant" (Terry Eagleton Guardian)
"Gripping...it enchants with a clause that sets you day-dreaming, captivates with a stream of thought, empowers with reminiscences" (London Review of Books)
"It is a great congested work, a foaming sourcebook, about life, imagination, tragedy, philosophy, morality, religion and art" (Independent)
"Remarkable... Iris Murdoch has once again put us all in her debt" (New York Times Book Review)
"Anyone who has even the slightest interest in philosophical matters will find Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals an utterly absorbing book" (Wall Street Journal) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'Iris Murdoch has written a book which concerns all of us as human beings. There are pages here that one wants to embrace her for, pages that say things of fundamental human importance in a way that they have never quite been said before' Sunday Telegraph --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Really, have a go.
Iris Murdoch is one of those intellectuals of a group (my hypothesis) concerned with morality and in particular, questions to do with moral philosophy in the broadest sense. Others in that category vary from Nietzsche, J. M. Keyenes, Et cetera to major theological thinkers and texts.
Reading the 'Metaphysics' brings one closer to Murdoch. One begins to understand better that she did her philosophy through her stories. 'Afterall, aren't we all telling stories?' To paraphrase one of her characters from an earlier novel. She was concerned with re-discovering the roots of some of the bigger questions that any thinking person might ask; and in this book, she brilliantly, clearly, wittily follows through to their uses, changes, revelations - weaving her own genius throughout. I was reminded of her description of the fictious philosopher in 'The Philosopher's Pupil' when she writes, 'all the books are in him now'; I felt, that all the books were in her, and all I had to do was to read this one person's insights from her various narratives and I might just glimpse a 'truth' myself.
Indeed, seriously reading 'Metaphysics' must be, in the beginning, a pursuit to know oneself. However, in the end, turns towards the very opposite: not a deconstruction, nor a rebuilding of the self; but rather a 'blowing out'. A realisation of the grativy of people, even morally 'good' people, to draw towards them a veil of memorabilia, illusions, desires, regrets, life-denying, selfishness. Such a realisation would require a 'radical' rethinking of the self and it's senses of, and de/re-construction of morality in relation to the world around us.
I do not think that Murdoch was in any way an enlightened being, though she pursued that path seemingly endlessly and exhaustively. Though without recourse to Buddhist 'ideology', but rather through rational contemplation of her own.
If you want a fresh perspective on themes such as art, religion, morality, et cetera and how such abstract notions relate to the practical world where the Self is the King/Queen, then this is in fact a great starter. Murdoch allows room to stop and read up on the original texts of such thinkers as Plato, Arthur Schopenhauer, Simone Weil, Et cetera; in order to get a better understanding of her interpretations.
Indeed, this text, along with 'Sovereignty of Good' makes perfectly clear some of the insightful conjectures upon society that she makes in her novels. In fact, her novels are the real philosophy, me thinks. Her laboratory as such.
'The Sea, The Sea', which won the Booker prize in its time, is a good book to begin Murdoch with. Even if you find it disturbing, yet want to discover more about the genius of Iris Murdoch (who has influenced/inspired such modern thinkers as Karen Armstrong, author of 'A History of God', et cetera), read 'Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals' - and let the wisdom in ^_^
Since this book can be bought so cheaply I did so. How absolutely refreshing for a thinker to give everyone their due, from Plato to Derrida. She adopts a quietly serious tone. It can lull one into torpidity one moment, then flash with a very striking insight the next.
How do morals work; how fundamental are they to the fabric of reality; do philosophies that undermine moral absolutes do so from a moral standpoint?!
This lady deserves to be read attentively. (Her Sovereignty of Good might be a sensible primer to this magnum opus.)
On the side of the angels? Yes, I think so. May God have mercy on her moral soul.
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