Moral Particularism, Thomism and Traditions


in In Defense of Natural Law

Published in print February 1999 | ISBN: 9780198267713
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683343 | DOI:
Moral Particularism, Thomism and Traditions

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This chapter considers Alasdair MacIntyre’s critique, from a Thomistic-Aristotelian perspective, of the mainstream of the liberal tradition in moral and political philosophy in his important book Whose Justice? Which Rationality? This chapter expresses concern on MacIntyre’s strong ‘particularism,’ (viz., his view of moral inquiry as not only ‘tradition-constitutive,’ but also ‘tradition-constituted’) which renders the idea of objective moral truth highly and unnecessarily problematic, and risks collapsing into a form of moral relativism. Certain modifications have been suggested of the view MacIntyre defends that would give ‘tradition’ its due moral analysis, yet avoid any strong relativist implications.

Keywords: Thomism; Aristotelianism; liberal tradition; particularism; moral relativism; Alasdair MacIntyre

Chapter.  4194 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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