Lawrence Blum

Interested in

Iris Murdoch, Philippa Foot, Elizabeth Anscombe, Mary Midgley



I am an Emeritus Distinguished Professor of Liberal Arts and Education, and Professor of Philosophy, at the University of Massachusetts Boston. I worked in moral philosophy, on moral sentiments such as care, sympathy, and compassion, for many years, drawing inspiration from the 1970 publication of Murdoch's Sovereignty of Good, and writing several articles on or inspired by her in the 1980's. (Midgley blurbed my 1980 book on the altruistic sentiments, Friendship, Altruism, and Morality.) In 1984 I was invited to be a visiting professor at UCLA, replacing Philippa Foot there for a semester. I asked Foot if she would arrange a meeting for me with Murdoch who was traveling to California that spring, and I spent most of a day with her, somewhat unsuccessfully trying to engage her with my concerns with Sovereignty, but grateful to have received some of her attention. (She had moved on to the issues that would occupy her in the Gifford Lectures of that year, that later became Metaphysics as a Guide to Morals.)
I subsequently drifted into the area now called "philosophy of race," and also philosophy of education, growing out of a burgeoning interest in social and political philosophy. I brought those interests back to Murdoch when asked to write a piece for Justin Broackes's collection (Iris Murdoch, Philosopher). I was very excited to join in the Murdoch revival, starting 2018, participating in several Murdoch conferences. (I also met  Murdoch two other times in her life, once also with Foot at the 1996 Chicago Divinity School conference that was the main source of the Antonaccio/Schweiker collection, Iris Murdoch and the Search for Human Goodness.)
I am very excited by Clare's and Rachael's project of recovery of these four fantastic philosophers. I am also interested in expanding the recovery of the female presence to Dorothy M. Emmet (1904-2000), 14 years Murdoch's senior and a sometimes friend, who was an incredibly impressive and multifaceted, transdisciplinary female philosophical voice in 20th century British philosophy.
I am also the author of the Stanford Encyclopedia's entry on Iris Murdoch, to be published this winter, and the chapter on "Murdoch and Politics" in Hopwood and Panizza's forthcoming Routledge .handbook on Murdoch, The Murdochian Mind.


2012 paper on Murdoch, in Justin Broackes (ed.), Iris Murdoch, Philosopher:
Blum2012VisualMetaphors_in_IrisMurdochsEthics.pdf 3.05 MB

3 (previously-published) papers on or inspired by Murdoch in 1994 collection, Moral Perception and Particularity ("Iris Murdoch and the Domain of the Moral,"[1982]  "Moral Perception and Particularity,"[1991] "Moral Examplars: Reflections on Schindler, the Trocmès, and Others"[1986])

2018 paper with short section on Murdoch: "One-to-One Fellow Feeling, Universal Identification and Oneness, and Group Solidarities," in P.J. Ivanhoe (ed.), The Oneness Hypothesis: Beyond the Boundary of Self 
Oneness and Group Solidarity.docx 39.1 KB


Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA

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