IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


VIRTUAL EVENT: What’s civility got to do with it? A Murdochian response

23 June 2021, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

A diverse group of young people standing together. Image: Monstera via Pexels

In this talk, Dr Megan Laverty (Teachers College, Columbia University, USA) argues that Iris Murdoch conceives civility as a modality of attention ‘at a distance’.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Alison Brady

For more information and to register for the event, please contact Alison Brady.

Civility is now more necessary than ever, but we don’t know how to think about it. Some theorists dismiss civility on the grounds that it promotes superficiality, insincerity, and hypocrisy. Yet, for Iris Murdoch, civility is associated with social virtues, such as courteousness, magnanimity, and kind-heartedness. 

It encompasses those small, socially communicative rituals that express and promote attention and are subject to ongoing refinement and adaptation.

As Dr Laverty reads Murdoch, it is through such social formalities that we importantly touch the formlessness of our existence.

This event will be particularly useful for those interested in: education, philosophy of education, philosophy, literature, teaching and learning and humanities education.

PESGB seminar series

The Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB) is a learned society that promotes the study, teaching and application of philosophy of education. Its London Branch hosts seminars every Wednesday in conjunction with Philosophy at the Institute of Education. 

These seminars are led by national and international scholars in the field, covering a wide range of issues of educational and philosophical concern. All are welcome to attend.


About the Speaker

Megan Laverty

Associate Professor of Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University

Megan’s research interests are philosophy of education, moral philosophy and education, and pre-college philosophy of education. 

She is the author of 'Iris Murdoch's Ethics: A Consideration of her Romantic Vision' (Bloomsbury, 2007).

She edits:

  • 'Philosophy for Children Founders' series (Routledge) together with Maughn Rollins Gregory
  • 'Philosophies of Education in Art, Cinema, and Literature' series (Bloomsbury) together with René Arcilla.

Together with David T. Hansen, she edited the five-volume series: 'A History of Western Philosophy of Education' (Bloomsbury 2021).