Iris Murdoch and The Power of Love

Anil Gomes at the TLS:

In contrast to her opponents, Murdoch stresses the reality of moral life. To acknowledge the reality of moral life is to recognize that the world contains such things as kindness, as foolishness, as mean-spiritedness. These are genuine features of reality, and someone who comes to know that some course of action would be foolish comes to know something about how things are in the world. This view is sometimes thought to be ruled out by a certain scientistic conception of the natural, one that restricts what exists to the things that feature in our best scientific theories. Such a view is too restricted, Murdoch thinks, to capture the reality of our lives – including our lives as moral agents. Goodness is sovereign, which is to say a real, if transcendent, aspect of the world.

Making sense of these ideas requires a metaphysics of morals, one that helps us to make peace with the existence of transcendent goodness. But if morality is to move us, we need not just a metaphysics of morals but also a moral psychology: an account of how we creatures, concrete as we are, are able to know about, and be guided by, the transcendent good.

more here.