Domestic Violence through a Murdochian Lens
Domestic violence (DV) recurs as a theme in many of Murdoch's novels. Despite this, to my knowledge, Murdoch never addresses the topic directly in her philosophical writings. However, DV can have a profound impact on its victims, not only in terms of physical and psychological harms, but also in the ways that it may shape a person’s way of thinking about the world. It is therefore surprising that Murdoch's awareness of this phenomenon, so clearly on show in her fiction, does not appear to have affected her work in moral philosophy. I use this tension as a springboard into reflection on Murdoch’s work in the light of contemporary understandings of the significance of violence and trauma for an individual’s sense of self. I tentatively suggest that Murdoch’s Platonic-Christian inheritance prevents her from doing full justice to the entanglement of the moral and the psychological.