Anne Eggert Stevns – New PhD student at the Department of Philosophy and History of Ideas

Anne will be working on a project about Murdoch as a modern existential philosophical reply to what Zygmunt Bauman has called the ‘overdetermined’ and misunderstood ideal of personal freedom through self-assertive consumerism in modern Western societies.

20.09.2019 | Camilla Dimke

A year ago, I submitted my Master Thesis ‘Metaphysics and Ethics in K. E. Løgstrup and Iris Murdoch’ at the University of Glasgow, after which I was enrolled in the Master’s Programme in Philosophy at AU. Before I went to Glasgow, I did my undergraduate degree in History of Ideas at AU. Throughout my undergraduate and postgraduate studies my main interest has been existential philosophy and moral philosophy, and although I have always thought I would write a PhD on Kierkegaard, I fell in love with the peculiar and fascinating British novelist-philosopher Iris Murdoch and decided to make her the main character of the project instead.

The main idea of my project is to read Murdoch as a modern existential philosophical reply to what Zygmunt Bauman has called the ‘overdetermined’ and misunderstood ideal of personal freedom through self-assertive consumerism in modern Western societies.

In looking into what resources for reflection existential philosophy might contribute with in this regard, I seek to connect Iris Murdoch’s moral and existential philosophy to other major existential and phenomenological philosophers (Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Sartre, Levinas) with whom she shared similar concerns about topics such as the self, freedom and responsibility. In contrast to those thinkers, I will look at how she presents an anti-individualistic corrective to the, very often, heroic and self-concerned notion of individual freedom, self and responsibility that runs through the history of most major existential philosophies. My approach will be historically oriented, and I will thus be looking at the impact of historical movements, such as Romanticism and the Enlightenment, on the development of the idea of self and freedom in the existential philosophical tradition as the background of my work on Murdoch’s critical reception of this tradition.


Contact:

Anne Eggert Stevns
Institut for Kultur og Samfund - Afdeling for Filosofi og Idéhistorie
Jens Chr. Skous Vej 7
bygning 1465, 523
8000 Aarhus C.

 

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