Fat Ego: Murdoch's Interpretation of the Human Representation in Modern Ethics

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Associate Professor, Farabi Campus, University of Tehran, Qom, Iran

2 PhD Student, Farabi Campus, University of Tehran, Qom, Iran


In this article, Iris Murdoch's – the Irish philosopher of ethics – viewpoint toward modern moral philosophy is examined. In her opinion, ethics is the most important act of the human, which is required to satisfy two demands:  it should be realistic and it should answer this question that how we can morally improve ourselves. Based on these two requisitions, she criticizes the ethical discussions of the modern philosophies. She believes that in modern moral philosophies, the scope of human volition is so expanded that it seems as if moral choice is something arbitrary, and is related to personal will. Too much emphasis on the human volition not only does not offer any help to the moral life, but also makes more difficult the selection of the moral choice and the conduction of the moral act. Extreme emphasis on human volition brings about two outcomes: distancing human from moral realism and deluding him. That is to say, it creates a fat ego entangled with a deluded image that distances the human from moral act, since self-centeredness is the main obstacle to moral act. 


  1. مرداک، آیریس (1387). سیطرة خیر، مترجم شیرین طالقانی، تهران: نشر شور.
  2. ملکیان، مصطفی (1387). مقدمه‌ای بر سیطرة خیر، تهران: نشر شور.
  3. مور، جورج ادوارد (1388). مبانی اخلاق، مترجمان غلامحسین توکلی، علی عسگری یزدی، تهران: انتشارات سمت.
    1. Bove, C. K. (1993). Understanding Iris Murdoch. The University of South Carolina Press, South Carolina.
    2. Diamond, C. (1996). We are Perpetually Moralists: Iris Murdoch, fact and value in M. Antonaccio and W. Schweiker (eds.), Iris Murdoch: The Search for Human Goodness, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
    3. Murdoch, I. (2014). Sovereignty of Good. Rutledge Great Minds, New York.
    4. ــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ (1992), Metaphysics as a guide to Morals. Vintage, London.
    5. Murdoch, I., Hepburn, R. W. (1956). Vision and Choice in Morality, Aristotelian Society Supplementary, 30, 14-58
    6. O’Conner, P. J. (1996). To Love the Good: The Moral Philosophy of Iris Murdoch, Peter Lang, New York.

10. Ruokonen, F. (2002) Good, self and unselfing- reflections on Iris Murdoch`s moral philosophy. Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society