Laying One’s Cards on the Table: Experiencing Exile and Finding Our Feet in Moral Philosophical Encounters

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Abstract

Engaging with the philosophical writings of Iris Murdoch, we submit that there are difficulties associated with providing a good description of morality that are intimately connected with difficulties in understanding other human beings. We suggest three senses in which moral philosophical reflection needs to account for our understanding of others: (1) the failure to understand someone is not merely an intellectual failure, but also engages us morally; (2) the moral question of understanding is not limited to the extent to which we understand a particular person, but also presents itself in how we picture difficulties in understanding people; and (3) “philosophical pictures of morality” fundamentally shape the conceptual framework we use to investigate morality, as well as the analysis of morality we find illuminative and satisfactory. Exploring the implications of these claims, we ask what it means to think of others as the same, or as different, from ourselves. We then consider the ethical significance of finding, or not finding, our feet in our encounters with others, dwelling on how the metaphor of movement reveals one way in which we are never at peace in the exploration of morality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)404-424
JournalOpen Philosophy
Volume4
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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