The Ascetic Impulse

Maria Antonaccio

in A Philosophy to Live By

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199855575
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199933198 | DOI:
The Ascetic Impulse

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This chapter treats the tension between puritanical and anti-puritanical currents in Murdoch’s thought, and hence the two sides of askesis as a formation discipline. Taking as a starting point Peter Conradi’s seminal work on the importance of the tension between the figures of the saint and the artist in Murdoch’s literary corpus, I contend that echoes of this tension can be found in her philosophy. Against those who see Murdoch’s moral thought as an exclusively renunciatory enterprise intent on the goal of unselfing, this chapter uncovers the complex interaction of aesthetic, moral, and religious motifs in this central Murdochian practice, and the unresolved tensions that arise from this interplay.

Keywords: saint and artist; art and morality; anti-puritan puritan; unselfing; renunciation; imagination; individual

Chapter.  10196 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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