Words

 

Iris Murdoch
The Sovereignity of Good

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And what does all art point to? It shows us the absolute pointlessness of virtue while exhibiting its supreme importance.

In the 'The Sovereignty of Good', she explores what makes good and bad.

Penultimately she comes to beauty - in nature for example: 'I am looking out of my window in an anxious and resentful state of mind, oblivious of my surroundings, brooding perhaps on some damage done to my prestige. Then suddenly I observe a hovering kestrel. In a moment everything is altered. The brooding self with its hurt vanity has disappeared. There is nothing now but the kestrel. And when I return to thinking of the other matter it seems less important.'

Ultimately she comes to art.
'When we move from beauty in nature to beauty in art we are already in a more difficult region. The experience of art is more easily degraded than the experience of nature. A great deal of art, perhaps most art, actually is self-consoling fantasy.' However, she goes on to say, great art does exist. It 'affords us a pure delight in the independent existence of what is excellent. It invigorates our best faculties and, to use Platonic language, inspires love in the highest part of the soul. It is able to do this partly by virtue of something which it shares with nature: a perfection of form which invites unpossessive contemplation and resists absorption into the selfish dream life of the consciousness'

And what does all art point to? It shows us the absolute pointlessness of virtue while exhibiting its supreme importance.

'All is vanity. The only thing which is of real importance is the ability to see it all clearly and respond to it justly which is inseparable from virtue. 'Art pierces the veil and gives sense to the notion of a reality which lies beyond appearance; it exhibits virtue in its true guise in the context of death and chance.'

Schopenhauer: In art, and above all in music, we forget the practical interests and strivings that together make up 'the will'. By doing so we forget ourselves, Schopenhauer claimed: we see the world from a standpoint of selfless contemplation.

The Idea of Perfection

Philosophy has in a sense to keep trying to return to the beginning.

Two way movement towards building elaborate theories and a move back again towards the consideration of simple and obvious facts.

Examination
Can an unexamined life be virtuous?
Is love the central concept in morals?
GE Moore: Good is indefinable because judgements of value depend upon the will and choice of the individual.
Good is a moveable label affixed to the world.

 

 

 

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rachelkellett@rediffmail.com