Metaphysics and ethics in K.E. Løgstrup and Iris Murdoch

Eggert Stevns, Anne (2018) Metaphysics and ethics in K.E. Løgstrup and Iris Murdoch. MRes thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis engages with two modern attempts at retrieving metaphysical reflection into the field of moral philosophy and thus to establish the possibility of interpreting human existence as a whole as morally qualified. On the one hand, the thesis engages with the Danish philosopher and theologian K. E. Løgstrup (1905-1981) and on the other, the British philosopher Iris Murdoch (1909-1999). Both thinkers claim that modern non-metaphysical moral philosophies (often inspired by natural science) are morally problematic and insist that a proper alternative is a moral philosophy which engages in the kind of metaphysical reflection that indicates an ontological affirmation of human existence as a whole. Furthermore, they insist that metaphysical interpretation is needed in order to understand the full scope of the moral condition of the human being and that such interpretation must be founded in phenomenological investigation of familiar, everyday experiences of moral goodness. The thesis engages with three main aspects of shared importance to both thinkers. It also emphasises an important recurrent difference in their understandings of the accomplishment of moral goodness, which both thinkers conceive of as love. The three shared aspects are 1) the continuous movement between empirical phenomenological investigation of everyday experiences of morality and the interpretation of these into a unified metaphysical framework; 2) the idea of an absolute and ubiquitous moral demand as inherent in existence; and 3) the connection between human morality and religion. The recurrent difference regarding the idea of love and the accomplishment of moral goodness is analysed as the classical difference between Greek eros-love in Murdoch and Christian agape-love in Løgstrup, and it is claimed that this is the perhaps most decisive difference in the two thinkers, who initially seem to have a very similar approach – phenomenological – and reach similar conclusions regarding the nature of moral goodness as selfless love of the neighbour.

Item Type: Thesis (MRes)
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: metaphysics, ethics, love, eros, agape, existence.
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Pattison, Prof. George
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Miss Anne Eggert Stevns
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-38931
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2018 10:20
Last Modified: 23 Jan 2019 14:34

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