Lessons of Murdochian Attention

The idea of attention was brought back into mainstream philosophical thinking about ethics by Iris Murdoch, drawing on Simone Weil. While Murdoch’s use of the idea has been reflected on by a number of recent commentators, I think its deepest lessons have largely been missed. Beginning from a recurre...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Sophia
Main Author: Cordner, Christopher 1949-
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Springer Netherlands [2016]
In: Sophia
Year: 2016, Volume: 55, Issue: 2, Pages: 197-213
RelBib Classification:NCA Ethics
TK Recent history
VA Philosophy
Further subjects:B Seeing accurately
B Iris Murdoch
B Being-present-to
B Waiting-on
B Attention
B Loving vision
Online Access: Presumably Free Access
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Summary:The idea of attention was brought back into mainstream philosophical thinking about ethics by Iris Murdoch, drawing on Simone Weil. While Murdoch’s use of the idea has been reflected on by a number of recent commentators, I think its deepest lessons have largely been missed. Beginning from a recurrent and revealing misreading of Murdoch on attention, a misreading often articulated through reflection on Murdoch’s example of M and D, I want to bring out some of those lessons. It is well-known that Murdoch links attention with just and loving vision. I describe a common, mistaken account of what she means by just and loving vision, and I then turn to other connotations of attention invoked by Murdoch. These other connotations are mentioned in dispatches by some commentators, but not dwelt upon. While Murdoch herself does not explore them extensively either, I argue that they are important for teasing out what matters most in Murdoch’s invocation of attention. As that way of putting suggests, my interest in Murdochian exegesis is eventually superseded by my attempts to elicit what I think to be some of the most fruitful implications of her reflections on attention.
ISSN:1873-930X
Contains:Enthalten in: Sophia
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1007/s11841-016-0540-2