Alasdair C. MacIntyre

(b. 1929)

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(1929– )

Foremost Aristotelian moral and political philosopher. An engaged and foreful critic of liberalism, MacIntyre has moved the basis of his assault from Marxism to Thomism. His pessimistic vision of contemporary ethics compares us to the survivors of some catastrophe faced with the remnants of sciences that they can no longer understand. They would no longer be able to follow rational scientific reasoning, and neither can we rise to rational ethical thought. As MacIntyre sees it, we have a choice between Aristotelian teleology, with its promise of a determinate view of human life as it should be lived, and a lawless emotivism, a Nietzschean chaos of mere assertions of will. But our capacity to articulate the Aristotelian vision properly is crippled by the contemporary world. MacIntyre himself sketches a communitarian vision of practices that carry their own reward, undertaken in a kind of enclave of Benedictine security. Books include A Short History of Ethics (1966); After Virtue (1981); Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (1988); Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry (1990); Dependent Rational Animals (1999).

Subjects: Philosophy.

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