For Murdoch, the hardest ethical task is simply to see the world as it is in itself, not as something that we can use, or something that we like, or something that threatens us, but really truly as it is, as something that is not ourselves. And so art is, for her, central to the two inseparable tasks of philosophy and ethics. Art teaches us how to look at the world, how to really see it. She quotes, approvingly, Rainer Maria Rilke's description of Cézanne, "that he did not paint 'I like it', he painted 'There it is.'"
Photo: Cézanne's Still Life with Curtain.