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Iris Murdoch, Philosopher$
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Justin Broackes

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199289905

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199289905.001.0001

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Social Convention and Neurosis as Obstacles to Moral Freedom

Social Convention and Neurosis as Obstacles to Moral Freedom

(p.254) (p.255) 7 Social Convention and Neurosis as Obstacles to Moral Freedom*
Iris Murdoch, Philosopher

Margaret Holland

Oxford University Press

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

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