KALAMAZOO--The moral beliefs of British author and philosopher Iris Murdoch will come into sharper focus next week when a visiting philosophy professor from Marquette University visits Western Michigan University.
Dr. Nancy E. Snow will speak at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, at the University Center for the Humanities, 2500 Knauss Hall. Her presentation, part of the WMU Center for the Study of Ethics in Society's spring season, is titled "Learning to Look: Lessons from Iris Murdoch on Moral Growth." It is free and open to the public.
Born in Ireland, Murdoch was best known for her novels about good and evil, sexual relationships, morality and the power of the unconscious. Her first published novel, "Under the Net," was one of Modern Library's 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.
Murdoch had a complex approach to ethics, and her writings were influenced by Simone Weil. Her novels follow in the tradition of Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, George Eliot and Proust and are known for their sensitivity and introspection. Her work is directly relevant to cultivating capacities for looking, attention and discernment that are essential for moral growth.
With research interests in moral psychology and virtue ethics, Snow is working on two books, one on hope and one on virtue ethics and virtue epistemology, as well as invited papers on virtue ethics. She also is editing an anthology for Oxford University Press titled "Cultivating Virtue: Multiple Perspectives" and co-editing an anthology for Routledge Press titled "The Philosophy and Psychology of Virtue: An Empirical Approach to Character and Happiness."
Snow is author of the book "Virtue as Social Intelligence: An Empirically Grounded Theory."