Ethical Attention: Iris Murdoch in Philosophical Dialogue, 4-5th February 2022

The Centre for Ethics in Public Life (University College Dublin) and the Centre for Ethics as Study in Human Value (University of Pardubice) are pleased to announce the forthcoming international online workshop:

Ethical Attention: Iris Murdoch in Philosophical Dialogue

Friday 4th and Saturday 5th February 2022

The workshop will take place via Zoom. Attendance is free. Please register on Eventbrite:


Workshop description

Attention is one of the most important concepts in Iris Murdoch’s philosophy, deeply bound up with other key concepts such as love, the Good, and unselfing. In the moral life, for Murdoch, attention does a significant amount of work: it makes moral perception possible, it provides motivation and vision for just action, and improves the individual regardless of outward manifestations. Murdoch borrows the concept of attention from Simone Weil, who used it not only for ethical, but primarily for spiritual purposes. At the same time, other philosophers in the phenomenological tradition have explored attention in ways that are both compatible and at odds with Murdoch’s more morally laden formulation. The aim of the workshop is to explore the ethical dimension of attention and to initiate a dialogue among different approaches to the topic. We will discuss the richness as well as the tensions and difficulties that arise from a focus on attention as an important ethical idea. In conversation with Murdoch, presentations will focus on Weil, Merleau-Ponty, and Husserl.

Programme (all times are in CET)


13:00 Welcome and Introduction

13:15-14:30 Eva-Maria Düringer (Universität Tübingen) Murdoch and Weil on Attending to the Personal

Short break

14:45-16:00 Kamila Pacovská (Centre for Ethics, Univerzita Pardubice) Simone Weil and Attending to the Afflicted

Short break                    

16:15-17:30 Silvia Caprioglio Panizza (Centre for Ethics in Public Life, University College Dublin, & Centre for Ethics, Univerzita Pardubice) Attention without self? Murdoch, Weil, and the Zen way



10:00-11:15 Susanne Schmetkamp (Université de Fribourg - Universität Freiburg) "In a moment everything is altered" - The Relation between Ethics and Aesthetics in Murdoch’s Concept of Attention

Short break

11:30-12:45 Antony Fredriksson (Centre for Ethics, Univerzita Pardubice) Murdoch, Merleau-Ponty and Cézanne

Lunch break

14:00-15:15 Diego D’Angelo (Universität Würzburg) Attention as an Ethical Shaping of a  Shared World. Sartre, Merleau-Ponty and Murdoch in Dialogue

Short break

15:30-16:45 Danielle Petherbridge (Centre for Ethics in Public Life, University College Dublin) Modifying Reifying Forms of Perception: Towards an Ethics of Affect and Attention with Husserl, Murdoch and Honneth



Silvia Caprioglio Panizza (CE-CEPL)

Danielle Petherbridge (CEPL)

Antony Fredriksson (CE)

Any queries, feel free to get in touch at