Inwardness in ethics

Chappell, Sophie Grace (2022). Inwardness in ethics. In: Panizza, Silvia Caproglio and Hopwood, Mark eds. The Murdochian Mind. London: Routledge, pp. 128–141.



I begin with a summary statement of what I call “the Manifesto”, which is a succinct expression of an entire, and extremely influential, ideology of philosophical ethics: the one that I call “systematic moral theory”, and have been writing against for a decade now. My paper is about why Iris Murdoch rejects the Manifesto; and why anyone should.
Murdoch quotes with approval Paul Valéry’s “A difficulty is a light; an insuperable difficulty is a sun.” It sounds paradoxical to suggest that philosophy is about confronting impossible questions; the whole point of the Manifesto is to resolve questions, not leave them hanging. But I show how in a number of ways it is right to think of ethics as concerned with questions that can’t be made to go away. Ethical philosophy is much more difficult than the Manifesto’s get-it-over-with conception of the subject makes it out to be. But also, much more interesting.

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