The videos in this series have been written, designed and delivered by Liz McKinnell of Flourishing Philosophy, philosopher-in-residence at the Midgley Archive between 2019-2021.

Liz’s videos provide clear, brief summaries of key ideas from Anscombe, Foot, Midgley, and Murdoch, on topics often taught in the classroom. Each video is accompanied by a short article for teachers written by Liz which provides additional context.

The videos are designed to fit with topics in the AQA and OCR AS and A-Level curricula.

Please get in touch if you’ve used this material – we’d love to hear how you got on.

Elizabeth Anscombe

Consequentialism

This video introduces the student to Anscombe’s brand of utilitarianism, consequentialism, and explains why she rejected ‘modern moral philosophy’, calling instead for a return to the ‘virtue ethics’ of the ancient philosophers.

Philippa Foot

Morality as a System of Hypothetical Imperatives

This video introduces the student to a strand of Foot’s thinking that opposes Kant’s notion of the Categorical Imperative. We often do what we ‘ought to’ because we have been brought up that way – not to lie for example. Such commands may appear categorical, but someone who acts against them is not necessarily irrational.

Mary Midgley

Dualism and Materialism

Midgley is a good philosopher to discuss when teaching dualism and materialism because she is highly critical of both positions, and neither is she an idealist.

Metaethics and Emotivism

Midgley is a good philosopher to introduce when discussing the Naturalistic Fallacy and Emotivism, both of which she rejected.

The Problem of Evil

God does not feature prominently in Midgley’s thoughts on the problem of evil – she thinks it is more interesting to explore evil from a human perspective. But her treatment of evil feeds back into debates about how an omnibenevolent omnipotent God might permit such a thing to exist.

Iris Murdoch

Plato’s Cave

Murdoch can be introduced in the context of teaching Plato. Her theory of unselfing speaks to the contemporary relevance of the metaphors Plato uses in his myth of the Cave.