Iris Murdoch and the Epistemic Significance of Love

In Simon Cushing (ed.), New Philosophical Essays on Love and Loving. Palgrave-Macmillan. pp. 39-62 (2021)
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Murdoch makes some ambitious claims about love’s epistemic significance which can initially seem puzzling in the light of its heterogeneous and messy everyday manifestations. I provide an interpretation of Murdochian love such that Murdoch’s claims about its epistemic significance can be understood. I argue that Murdoch conceives of love as a virtue, and as belonging at the pinnacle of the hierarchy of the virtues, and that this makes sense of the epistemic role Murdochian love fulfills. Moreover, I suggest that there is good reason to think that Murdochian love is not as far from everyday conceptions of love as it can initially appear.

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Cathy Mason
Central European University


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