University of Hertfordshire

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Iris Murdoch and the Borders of Analytic Philosophy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Tony Milligan
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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)164-176
Journal publication dateJun 2012
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012


Iris Murdoch's philosophical texts depart significantly from familiar analytic discursive norms. (Such as the norms concerning argument structure and the minimization of rhetoric.) This may lead us to adopt one of two strategies. On the one hand an assimilation strategy that involves translation of Murdoch's claims into the more familiar terms of property-realism (the terminology of ethical naturalism and non-naturalism). On the other hand, there is the option of adopting a crossover strategy and reading Murdoch as (in some sense) a philosopher who belongs more properly to the continental tradition. The following article argues that if familiar Quinean claims about ontological commitment and Murdoch's account of metaphor are both broadly correct then the assimilation strategy must fail to produce a faithful translation. Nonetheless, Murdoch's connection to the analytic tradition is more than genealogical, it is more than a matter of her writing (initially) in response to analytic contemporaries before branching off in a more continental direction. While she departs from familiar analytic discursive norms, she continues to accept most of the epistemic values (such as clarity and simplicity) that the norms embody.

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