Murdoch and Kant

Authored by: Melissa Merritt

The Murdochian Mind

Print publication date:  June  2022
Online publication date:  June  2022

Print ISBN: 9780367468019
eBook ISBN: 9781003031222
Adobe ISBN:


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It has been insufficiently remarked that Murdoch deems ‘Kant’s ethical theory’ to be ‘one of the most beautiful and exciting things in the whole of philosophy’ in her 1959 essay ‘The Sublime and the Good’. Murdoch specifically has in mind the connection between Kant’s ethics and his theory of the sublime, which runs via the moral feeling of respect (Achtung). The chapter examines Murdoch’s interest in Kant on this point as a way to tease out the range of issues that complicate Kant’s significance for the development of Murdoch’s distinctive conception of ethics as it is articulated in The Sovereignty of Good and earlier essays. It focusses on her particular concerns about the moral dangers of consolation, and why this led her to propose reworking the Kantian theory of the sublime as a theory of art, and specifically of tragedy.

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