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Iris Murdoch's philisophical novel which details her views.

A PHIL101 paper which I wrote on the topic is as follows:

Iris Murdoch within, The Sovereignty of Good, attempts to express that, “moral philosophy in which the concept of love, so rarely mentioned now by philosophers, can once again be made central” (45). Chapter Two, entitled “On ‘God’ and ‘Good’”, begins by refuting the current system of existentialism through the argument that it is, “an unrealistic and over-optimistic doctrine and the purveyor of certain false values” (46). It then establishes the idea of realism in its relation to transcendence through the indestructibility of beauty. An artist, upon completing a beautiful piece of artwork, may transcend the real world in knowing that it is beautiful even though the actual piece might have been destroyed. Perfection is then shown to be a necessary component of what is good, “the idea of perfection moves…us because it inspires love in the part of us that is most worthy…and is also a natural producer of order”(60). An obvious example of the pursuit of perfection comes from art which, “represents the most comprehensible examples of the almost irresistible human tendency to seek consolation in fantasy and also the effort to resist this and the vision of reality which comes with success” (62-63). Again, artwork is brought up as the answer to living “the Good” life. Great artists, in their pursuit of perfection through art, are good and hence immersed with freedom (63). The art consumers as well can lead the good life if they, “see as much reality in the work as the artist has succeeded in putting into it” (63). Through the admiration of all things beautiful comes a transcendence into “the good life” because those who appreciate art and nature know enough about life to realize perfection and abandon fantasy.

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