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T.W. Adorno, Iris Murdoch, and the importance of art for ethics


T.W. Adorno, Iris Murdoch, and the importance of art for ethics

Hawkins, Michelle (2006) T.W. Adorno, Iris Murdoch, and the importance of art for ethics. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Theodor Adorno, a member of the first generation of critical theory, and Iris Murdoch, a major contributor to the field of virtue ethics, are not ordinarily thought to have much in common, and, like the diverse philosophical traditions with which they are respectively associated, rarely treated together. Through a discussion of the role of art for ethics in Adorno's Aesthetic Theory and Murdoch's The Sovereignty of Good, this thesis brings these two authors together, highlighting the similarities that in fact exist between them. It argues that Adorno and Murdoch share similar conceptions of ethics which index the motivation human beings feel for ethical action to the recognition of particular moments within experience that call for ethical response. It argues moreover that Adorno and Murdoch each describe human beings as generally unable to accurately perceive the world that confronts them. Adorno points to the domination of instrumental rationality within modernity as the source of human beings' perceptual failings, and Murdoch, the natural tendency of human beings to focus upon themselves. For both Adorno and Murdoch, the inability of human beings to correctly perceive reality has negative consequences upon ethical life; it is, for Adorno and Murdoch alike, the immediate cause of the ethical failings of human beings. Finally, this thesis demonstrates that Adorno and Murdoch both attribute to art a capacity for enticing and enabling human beings to see beyond the scope of instrumental rationality, or the confines of the self, and therefore consider art to be of unique importance for ethics.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Philosophy
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Hawkins, Michelle
Pagination:v, 69 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Thesis Supervisor(s):Fritsch, Matthias
Identification Number:LE 3 C66P45M 2006 H39
ID Code:9228
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:18 Aug 2011 18:46
Last Modified:13 Jul 2020 20:06
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