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Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals (Vintage classics) Paperback – 3 Apr 2003

4.4 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics; New Ed edition (3 April 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099433559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099433552
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 3.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 265,639 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

"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)

Book Description

'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

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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Well chuffed and happy with it. A A A A A A A A A A A + + +
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This boook is often seen as impenetrable,even by those who teach Murdoch. So it's very easy to be completely put off. However I began dipping into it whilst re-reading "The Bell" recently, because morality, and the living of a good life, are such a constant preoccupation in that book.I found some of the things she said in the chapter on morality really illuminated my reading of the text, and Iris Murdoch is one of those writers who benefit amazingly from this kind of background. I would just say to anyone interested in the novels, and thinking about having a go, that they should buy a copy and just begin dipping into it. Don't feel all daunted and put off, because just a couple of sentences of it will contain a thought you can ponder for hours while mindlessly travelling, on the tube, in the car, watching I'm a Celebrity...
Really, have a go.
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By A Customer on 24 April 2002
Format: Paperback
Iris Murdoch's 'Metaphysics As A Guide To Morals' is a must-have. It is the result of Murdoch's many years of reading and research- research resulting in a perceptive examination of issues of permanent relevance to philosophy, literature and art. The book is not 'preachy' by any means- it does purport to be a document of absolute truth- as if a philosophical text could be- or urge you to side with everything suggested in it. What it is, though, is the genius Murdoch presenting her personal opinions and ideas regarding these and other themes, developing new theoretical possibilities and expanding on traditional views. Superb. This is Murdoch at her brilliant best.
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Socrates posed several questions, one of them being 'what is good?'. As thinking beings we have purported through the milleniums to think about this question, and many more, and specially tried to relate such intellectual activities to the 'real' world of our everyday practical lives.
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.
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Looking around for some other author after devouring Chesterton (Everlasting Man, Orthodoxy), someone like him not locked into their times, I was surprised to find Iris Murdoch had sound philosophical training. My ignorance, I grant.

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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This was bought as a gift for the BF - a lecturer - who had been after reading this for some time. He tells me it is a great read! :)
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One of my most favourite novellists and now to get an insight into her philosophy, this great book.
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