Critical Context

Download PDF Print Page Citation Share Link

Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 394

The Sovereignty of Good offers not only an alternative to the picture of self that finds its source in Enlightenment rationalism; it separates the moral world from the scientific world and seeks to liberate philosophy as a study of human nature from the domination of science. Because of this move, The Sovereignty of Good has been considered a groundbreaking book in modern moral philosophy. As she reconsidered the nature of the moral personality, offering an analysis of goodness, a mysterious and indefinable concept so important to the work of the philosopher and the artist, Murdoch initiated a rethinking of the moral life itself, placing the ideas of character, of virtue, and, as Murdoch would argue in other works, even the idea of the story as the center of attention in philosophical deliberations about the nature of the moral life. Although Murdoch’s Platonism has its detractors—philosophical Idealism is not without problems and always finds competent critics—the call for a return to an axiological ethics of virtue has met with a receptive audience. Murdoch stands with such philosophers as Stephen Toulmin, who has written often on the need for thinking about ethics as practical wisdom or phronesis, as Aristotle termed it; and Alasdair MacIntyre, whose significant book, After Virtue (1981), brought a resurgence of interest in an ethic of vices and virtues. In the realm of religious ethics, the Christian ethicist, Stanley Hauerwas, has explicitly acknowledged a debt to Murdoch as he, too, has called for a turn from Kantian and utilitarian ethics to an ethics of virtue in...

(The entire section contains 394 words.)

Unlock This Study Guide Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this The Sovereignty of Good study guide. You'll get access to all of the The Sovereignty of Good content, as well as access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

  • Critical Essays
  • Analysis
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial