"Murdoch raises important questions about the way in which art might help us to experience things beyond ourselves including those things that others might have experienced that we have not. She also suggests that art might assist us to understand another person’s ethical view. I am particularly drawn to Murdoch's exploration of the interconnection between art and ethical life or the nature of goodness and her account of attention in regard to the perception of others."
"Iris Murdoch had been my teacher. I never met her, but I have been learning from her ever since I first started reading Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals, some twenty years ago. This is a book written by a great mind, someone with whom I share a love for Plato, Kant and great literature, as well as concern about the disappearance of religious experience. Above all, Murdoch has taught me to persist with a problem, however unfashionable."
Hannah Marije Altorf
"My working time with Iris Murdoch has been spent mainly with 'Vision and Choice in Morality' - that substantive content gets sneaked into or shut out of philosophy by the demands of mere 'form' is still a fertile idea - or with The Sovereignty of Good. How the capacity to love a particular other well relates (or fails to) to goodness more broadly is a constant theme of mine. I also love the novels, not least for the hijacking (if it is really that) of philosophical language to describe everyday affairs."
"Iris Murdoch has, over and over again, and in many different ways, opened up what moral philosophy can be. I think, for example, of the way she has emphasized the importance of not working with a a narrow delineation of what constitutes moral philosophy, a delineation which can exclude much that matters in moral life. I think also of the importance in her work of what is true to our experience as moral beings, and what in philosophy can distort that experience."
"I first discovered Murdoch at age 13 when I went on a reading spree of all her novels whilst on summer holidays at Lake Superior in northern Ontario – some distance from the intrigues of the British middle classes captured by Murdoch. Years later as a political philosopher at Queen’s University I read her 1958 essay, ‘A House of Theory’. I am still amazed at how this piece, written during the Cold War, offers an eloquent vision of fulfilling work in a community of equals that speaks to us still."
"I have come across Iris Murdoch as part of the Wartime Quartet. What I like about her is the way in which she unites philosophy and literature in her person, and how her thinking allows to oppose mainstream moral philosophy. I am inspired by her idea of and emphasis on moral vision, and by her attention to detail and context. As something like an ex-Platonist, I am not so sure that I can bring myself to be convinced by all of her mature moral philosophy, but I remain certainly fascinated."
"Murdoch showed that you have to be fearless, rigorous, and creative to illuminate the moral possibilities of everyday life and to address (what she called) "the real problems." She showed that you don't have to look to a faraway place to experience or to examine transcendence; it is a part of ordinary human life. She showed, and continues to show, how to reflect on moral questions in a way that is both good-humored and uncompromising."
"Iris Murdoch taught me that philosophy can be serious and severe but still emotionally sustaining. Her writing showed me that philosophical prose can still be beautiful. She enlarged my sense of what philosophy can be. 'To do philosophy is to explore one's own temperament,' Murdoch wrote, 'and yet at the same time to attempt to discover the truth.'
"I find Iris Murdoch's philosophy enormously rich and imaginative, and driven by a pressing wish to understand human life in all its fullness, complexity, and variegation. Engaging with Murdoch's philosophy opens up exhilarating vistas of what it is to do philosophy, and what it is to be human."
"She wrote: 'Love is the extremely difficult realization that something other than oneself is real. Love, and so art and morals, is the discovery of reality.'
Could this be right? And if so how, more exactly, should we understand it? And how should we live in the light of that understanding?
Murdoch is someone who, in her novels, her philosophy and her life, makes the interest and importance of these issues vividly apparent!"
"One idea from Murdoch that really interests me is her concept of 'attention', as involving a kind of focus beyond the self and on the detail of the world, including other people. I think Murdoch displays this attention herself in the way she does philosophy, which saves her from an overly theoretical and reductive approach, and brings her close to some thinkers in the phenomenological tradition, in a way that I find attractive - and it makes her more enjoyable to read than most philosophers!"
"Iris's is philosophy with a human side, complex, mixed, multifaceted, not altogether good, not altogether bad, without too-sharp boundaries -- life as I experience and must manage it."
"Murdoch's philosophy, like her fiction, is populated with the varied reality of moral life: mothers who find their daughters-in-law juvenile, concentration camp guards who are kindly fathers. A loving gaze can discern this moral reality just as a good eye can appraise the length of a timber. And if we are to transcend our selfish egos, we need this capacity for loving attention. Murdoch’s work remains a provocation, where goodness is real, and love is seeing aright."
"What Murdoch means to me: The first time I read Murdoch's philosophy, I was completely baffled by it. But pretty soon afterwards, I found myself picking it up again, and then again. Her work can be obscure, but it's rich and often powerfully written, and it somehow resonates with me. Reading Murdoch, you really feel the pull of her vision. On each new read, I find myself noticing wonderful throw-away lines that give me plenty to ponder, and that will certainly lead me to return to her work once more."