Iris Murdoch's Ontological Argument

Andrew Gleeson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Iris Murdoch develops a version of the Ontological Argument as a moral argument for the existence of a transcendent and perfect Platonic Good. I argue that her version of the argument over-emphasises moral goodness as a distant and intangible ideal to which we are inevitably attracted, and towards which we may progress, but which, apart from occasional revelations in saintly lives and great art, is normally only available in glimpses and intimations, and which remains mysterious. The argument is better construed as concerning the moral reality of human beings as sacred or inviolable, and the moral demands this makes upon us—a reality that is proximate, palpable, inescapable and highly familiar.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReading Iris Murdoch's Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals
EditorsNora Hamalainen, Gillian Dooley
Place of PublicationCham
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-18967-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-18966-2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Iris Murdoch
  • Morality
  • Religion and philosophy


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