METAPHYSICS AS A GUIDE TOI MORALS
Dame Iris Murdoch who has written several works of philosophy as well as twenty-four distinguished novels, now crowns her philosophic quest with a book that asks many questions and reflects on the essential aspects of the great subject: moral philosophy. Among her concerns are the roles literature, politics, art, and science play in the search for morality in a world that avoids the issue. What is morality, after all, Murdoch asks. Is it important? Is it true? Can it be taught in schools? Is it the very basis of our existence, or is it just one of many peripheral matters? A main theme of this profound work concerns religion and its relation to morals, to moral philosophy, and to the great metaphysical systems which have supported it in the past. These are questions that concern us all, as we are driven to reflect upon the relation between religion and morals and upon the various conceptions of what religion is. Iris Murdoch believes it is time for a dialogue between moral philosophy and a demythologizing theology. She casts fresh light on our great western metaphysicians, Plato and Kant. She writes that philosophy is now in danger of being fragmented into psychology, sociology, anthropology, and other peripheral disciplines. Some universities are closing their philosophy departments. Moral philosophy (ethics), if considered at all, tends to be segregated as a small, special subject. Technology, so beneficial in innumerable ways, displays to us a vast, colorful world of facts within which "moral value" may appear as a little particular item. In her lucid and tightly reasoned "reflections," Dame Iris Murdoch constructs a warning that the survival of philosophy with its persistent ever-new attempts to seek "foundations" is more than ever essential, when the very question of "human being" is at stake. A grand work by one of the most distinguished thinkers of our time.