Social Convention and Neurosis as Obstacles to Moral Freedom

Margaret Holland

in Iris Murdoch, Philosopher

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199289905
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191728471 | DOI:
Social Convention and Neurosis as Obstacles to Moral Freedom

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  • History of Western Philosophy
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One of the notable themes in Iris Murdoch’s philosophical work is her focus on the role of inner moral activity, particularly her use of the concept of ‘moral attention.’ Through an examination of Murdoch’s comments on the roles social convention and neurosis play as obstacles to moral awareness, this chapter sheds light on Murdoch’s suggestion that moral attention both reduces choices and increases freedom. Murdoch’s distinction between fantasy and imagination is discussed in the context of their relation to moral freedom. Finally, the relation Murdoch sees between imagination and freedom provides the context for understanding her suggestion that an improved quality of attention diminishes one’s choices.

Keywords: choice; fantasy; freedom; imagination; moral attention; Iris Murdoch; neurosis; social convention

Chapter.  9825 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy ; Moral Philosophy

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