Clare Mac Cumhaill (Durham University) on “Love, Form and the Murdochian Sublime”

April 2023, Monday 17th, 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Venue: Institut Jean Nicod, Salle de réunion, 29 rue d’Ulm, 75005 Paris (you can enter also from 24 rue Lhomond)

Abstract: At the close of her 1959 paper ‘The Sublime and the Good’, Iris Murdoch makes an astonishing and difficult-to-interpret statement: “Form is the great consolation of love, but it is also its great temptation”. In the first part of the talk, I offer a way of reading this claim. I spell out Murdoch’s reimagining of the Kantian Sublime and the significance of her conception of form. In the second part of the talk, I use this analysis to interrogate different ways of operationalizing her infamous claim that ‘Man is a creature who makes pictures of himself and then comes to resemble the picture’. The main task of moral philosophy is, she thinks, to understand this process. I draw on some recent work in aesthetics to make a start.


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