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Alasdair MacIntyre

Alasdair MacIntyre

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Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre (born 1929) is a British philosopher
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 primarily known for his contribution to moral and political philosophy
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 but known also for his work in history of philosophy
History of philosophy
The history of philosophy is the study of philosophical ideas and concepts through time. Issues specifically related to history of philosophy might include : How can changes in philosophy be accounted for historically? What drives the development of thought in its historical context? To what...

 and theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Contemporary Aristotelian Studies in Ethics and Politics (CASEP) at London Metropolitan University
London Metropolitan University
London Metropolitan University , located in London, England, was formed on 1 August 2002 by the amalgamation of the University of North London and the London Guildhall University . The University has campuses in the City of London and in the London Borough of Islington.The University operates its...

, and an Emeritus Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

.

Biography


Alasdair Chalmers MacIntyre was born 12 January 1929 in Glasgow
Glasgow
Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and third most populous in the United Kingdom. The city is situated on the River Clyde in the country's west central lowlands...

, to John and Emily (Chalmers) MacIntyre. He was educated at Queen Mary College, London
Queen Mary, University of London
Queen Mary, University of London is a public research university located in London, United Kingdom and a constituent college of the federal University of London...

, and has a Master of Arts from the University of Manchester
University of Manchester
The University of Manchester is a public research university located in Manchester, United Kingdom. It is a "red brick" university and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive British universities and the N8 Group...

 and from the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

. He began his teaching career in 1951 at Manchester University. He taught at the University of Leeds
University of Leeds
The University of Leeds is a British Redbrick university located in the city of Leeds, West Yorkshire, England...

, the University of Essex
University of Essex
The University of Essex is a British campus university whose original and largest campus is near the town of Colchester, England. Established in 1963 and receiving its Royal Charter in 1965...

 and the University of Oxford
University of Oxford
The University of Oxford is a university located in Oxford, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest surviving university in the world and the oldest in the English-speaking world. Although its exact date of foundation is unclear, there is evidence of teaching as far back as 1096...

 in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, before moving to the USA in around 1969. MacIntyre has been something of an intellectual nomad, having taught at many universities in the US. He has held the following positions:
  • Professor of History and Ideas, Brandeis University
    Brandeis University
    Brandeis University is an American private research university with a liberal arts focus. It is located in the southwestern corner of Waltham, Massachusetts, nine miles west of Boston. The University has an enrollment of approximately 3,200 undergraduate and 2,100 graduate students. In 2011, it...

     (1969 or 1970),
  • Dean of the College of Arts and Professor of Philosophy, Boston University
    Boston University
    Boston University is a private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. With more than 4,000 faculty members and more than 31,000 students, Boston University is one of the largest private universities in the United States and one of Boston's largest employers...

     (1972),
  • Henry Luce
    Henry Luce
    Henry Robinson Luce was an influential American publisher. He launched and closely supervised a stable of magazines that transformed journalism and the reading habits of upscale Americans...

     Professor, Wellesley College (1980),
  • W. Alton Jones Professor, Vanderbilt University
    Vanderbilt University
    Vanderbilt University is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Founded in 1873, the university is named for shipping and rail magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided Vanderbilt its initial $1 million endowment despite having never been to the...

     (1982),
  • Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame
    University of Notre Dame
    The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

     (1985),
  • Professor of Philosophy, Vanderbilt University
    Vanderbilt University
    Vanderbilt University is a private research university located in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. Founded in 1873, the university is named for shipping and rail magnate "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt, who provided Vanderbilt its initial $1 million endowment despite having never been to the...

     (1985),
  • Visiting scholar, Whitney Humanities Center, Yale University
    Yale University
    Yale University is a private, Ivy League university located in New Haven, Connecticut, United States. Founded in 1701 in the Colony of Connecticut, the university is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States...

     (1988),
  • McMahon-Hank Professor of Philosophy, Notre Dame
    University of Notre Dame
    The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

     (1989), and
  • Arts & Sciences Professor of Philosophy, Duke University
    Duke University
    Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco industrialist James B...

     (1995–1997).

He has also been a visiting professor at Princeton University
Princeton University
Princeton University is a private research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States. The school is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and is one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution....

, and is a former president of the American Philosophical Association
American Philosophical Association
The American Philosophical Association is the main professional organization for philosophers in the United States. Founded in 1900, its mission is to promote the exchange of ideas among philosophers, to encourage creative and scholarly activity in philosophy, to facilitate the professional work...

. In 2010, he was awarded the Aquinas Medal by the American Catholic Philosophical Association
American Catholic Philosophical Association
The American Catholic Philosophical Association is an organization of Catholic philosophers established in 1926 to promote the advancement of philosophy as an intellectual discipline consonant with Catholic tradition...

.

From 2000 he was the Rev. John A. O'Brien Senior Research Professor in the Department of Philosophy (emeritus since 2010) at the University of Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

, Indiana USA
Indiana
Indiana is a US state, admitted to the United States as the 19th on December 11, 1816. It is located in the Midwestern United States and Great Lakes Region. With 6,483,802 residents, the state is ranked 15th in population and 16th in population density. Indiana is ranked 38th in land area and is...

. He is also Professor Emerit and Emeritus at Duke University
Duke University
Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina, United States. Founded by Methodists and Quakers in the present day town of Trinity in 1838, the school moved to Durham in 1892. In 1924, tobacco industrialist James B...

. In April 2005 he was elected to the American Philosophical Society
American Philosophical Society
The American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743, and located in Philadelphia, Pa., is an eminent scholarly organization of international reputation, that promotes useful knowledge in the sciences and humanities through excellence in scholarly research, professional meetings, publications,...

, and in July 2010 became Senior Research Fellow at London Metropolitan University
London Metropolitan University
London Metropolitan University , located in London, England, was formed on 1 August 2002 by the amalgamation of the University of North London and the London Guildhall University . The University has campuses in the City of London and in the London Borough of Islington.The University operates its...

's Centre for Contemporary Aristotelian Studies in Ethics and Politics.

He has been married 3 times. From 1953 to 1963 he was married to Ann Peri, with whom he had two daughters. From 1963 to 1977 he was married to Susan Willans, with whom he had a son and daughter. Since 1977 he has been married to philosopher Lynn Joy, who is also on the Philosophy faculty at Notre Dame
University of Notre Dame
The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a Catholic research university located in Notre Dame, an unincorporated community north of the city of South Bend, in St. Joseph County, Indiana, United States...

.

Philosophical Approach


MacIntyre's approach to moral philosophy has a number of complex strains which inform it. Although his project is largely characterized by an attempt to revive an Aristotelian conception of moral philosophy as sustained by the virtues, he nevertheless describes his own account of this attempt as a "peculiarly modern understanding" of the task.

This "peculiarly modern understanding" largely concerns MacIntyre's approach to moral disputes. Unlike some analytic philosopher
Analytic philosophy
Analytic philosophy is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century...

s who try to generate moral consensus on the basis of an ideal of rationality, MacIntyre presents a historical narration of the development of ethics in order to illuminate the modern problem of "incommensurable" moral notions—i.e., moral arguments that proceed from incompatible premises. Following Hegel and Collingwood
R. G. Collingwood
Robin George Collingwood was a British philosopher and historian. He was born at Cartmel, Grange-over-Sands in Lancashire, the son of the academic W. G. Collingwood, and was educated at Rugby School and at University College, Oxford, where he read Greats...

 he offers a "philosophical history" (which he distinguishes from both analytical and phenomenological approaches to philosophy) in which he concedes from the beginning that "there are no neutral standards available by appeal to which any rational agent whatsoever could determine" the conclusions of moral philosophy.

Indeed, one of MacIntyre's major points in his most famous work, After Virtue
After Virtue
After Virtue is a book on moral philosophy by Alasdair MacIntyre. MacIntyre provides a bleak view of the state of modern moral discourse, regarding it as failing to be rational, and failing to admit to being irrational. He claims that older forms of moral discourse were in better shape,...

, is that the failed attempt by various Enlightenment
Age of Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

 thinkers to furnish a final universal account of moral rationality led to the rejection of moral rationality altogether by subsequent thinkers such as Charles Stevenson
Charles Stevenson
Charles Leslie Stevenson was an American analytic philosopher best known for his work in ethics and aesthetics....

, Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Sartre
Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre was a French existentialist philosopher, playwright, novelist, screenwriter, political activist, biographer, and literary critic. He was one of the leading figures in 20th century French philosophy, particularly Marxism, and was one of the key figures in literary...

, and Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher, poet, composer and classical philologist...

. On MacIntyre's account, it is especially Nietzsche's utter repudiation of the possibility of moral rationality that is the outcome of the Enlightenment's mistaken quest for a final and definitive argument that will settle moral disputes into perpetuity by power of a calculative reason alone and without use of teleology
Teleology
A teleology is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greek τέλος, telos; root: τελε-, "end, purpose...

.

By contrast, MacIntyre is concerned with reclaiming various forms of moral rationality and argumentation that claim neither ultimate finality nor incorrigible certainty (the mistaken project of the Enlightenment), but nevertheless do not simply bottom out into relativistic or emotivist denials of any moral rationality whatsoever (according to him, the mistaken conclusion of Nietzsche, Sartre and Stevenson). He does this by returning to the tradition of Aristotelian ethics with its teleological account of the good and moral persons which was originally rejected by the Enlightenment and which reached a fuller articulation in the medieval writings of Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

. This Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition, he proposes, presents 'the best theory so far', both of how things are and how we ought to act.

More generally, according to MacIntyre it is the case that moral disputes always take place within and between rival traditions of thought that make recourse to a store of ideas, presuppositions, types of arguments and shared understandings and approaches that have been inherited from the past. Thus even though there is no definitive way for one tradition in moral philosophy to vanquish and exclude the possibility of another, nevertheless opposing views can call one another into question by various means including issues of internal coherence, imaginative reconstruction of dilemmas, epistemic crisis, and fruitfulness.

After Virtue (1981)


Probably his most widely read work, After Virtue was written when MacIntyre was already in his fifties. Up until that time MacIntyre had been a relatively influential analytic philosopher of a Marxist bent whose inquiries into moral philosophy had been conducted in a “piecemeal way, focusing first on this problem and then on that, in a mode characteristic of much analytic philosophy.” However, after reading the works of Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Samuel Kuhn was an American historian and philosopher of science whose controversial 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was deeply influential in both academic and popular circles, introducing the term "paradigm shift," which has since become an English-language staple.Kuhn...

 and Imre Lakatos
Imre Lakatos
Imre Lakatos was a Hungarian philosopher of mathematics and science, known for his thesis of the fallibility of mathematics and its 'methodology of proofs and refutations' in its pre-axiomatic stages of development, and also for introducing the concept of the 'research programme' in his...

 on philosophy of science
Philosophy of science
The philosophy of science is concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods and implications of science. It is also concerned with the use and merit of science and sometimes overlaps metaphysics and epistemology by exploring whether scientific results are actually a study of truth...

 and epistemology MacIntyre was inspired to change the entire direction of his thought, tearing up the manuscript he had been working on and deciding to view the problems of modern moral and political philosophy
Political philosophy
Political philosophy is the study of such topics as liberty, justice, property, rights, law, and the enforcement of a legal code by authority: what they are, why they are needed, what, if anything, makes a government legitimate, what rights and freedoms it should protect and why, what form it...

 “not from the standpoint of liberal modernity, but instead from the standpoint of ... Aristotelian moral and political practice.”

In general terms the task of After Virtue is to account both for the dysfunctional quality of moral discourse within modern society and rehabilitate what MacIntyre takes to be a forgotten alternative in the teleological rationality of Aristotelian virtue ethics.

Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (1988)


MacIntyre's second major work of his mature period takes up the problem of giving an account of philosophical rationality within the context of his notion of "traditions," which had still remained under-theorized in After Virtue. Specifically, MacIntyre argues that rival and largely incompatible conceptions of justice are the outcome of rival and largely incompatible forms of practical rationality. These competing forms of practical rationality and their attendant ideas of justice are in turn the result of "socially embodied traditions of rational inquiry." Although MacIntyre's treatment of traditions is quite complex he does give a relatively concise definition: "A tradition is an argument extended through time in which certain fundamental agreements are defined and redefined" in terms of both internal and external debates.

Much of Whose Justice? Which Rationality? is therefore engaged in the task of not only giving the reader examples of actual rival traditions and the different ways they can split apart, integrate or defeat one another (e.g. Aristotelian, Augustinian, Thomist, Humean) but also with substantiating how practical rationality and a conception of justice help constitute those traditions. MacIntyre argues that despite their incommensurability there are various ways in which alien traditions might engage one another rationally — most especially via a form of immanent critique which makes use of empathetic imagination to then put the rival tradition into "epistemic crisis" but also by being able to solve shared or analogous problems and dilemmas from within one's own tradition which remain insoluble from the rival approach.

MacIntyre's account also defends three further theses: first, that all rational human inquiry is conducted whether knowingly or not from within a tradition; second, that the incommensurable conceptual schemes of rival traditions do not entail either relativism or perspectivism; third, that although the arguments of the book are themselves attempts at universally valid insights they are nevertheless given from within a particular tradition (that of Thomist Aristotelianism) and that this need not imply any philosophical inconsistency.

Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry (1990)


Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry was first presented by MacIntyre as part of the Gifford lecture series at the University of Edinburgh in 1988 and is considered by many the third part in a trilogy of philosophical argumentation that commenced with After Virtue. As its title implies, MacIntyre's aim in this book is to examine three major rival traditions of moral inquiry on the intellectual scene today (encyclopaedic, genealogical and traditional) which each in turn was given defense from a canonical piece published in the late nineteenth century (the Ninth Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica, Nietzsche's Genealogy of Morals and Pope Leo XIII's Aeterni Patris, respectively). MacIntyre's book ultimately conducts a complex series of both interior and exterior critiques of the encyclopaedic and genealogical positions in an attempt to vindicate philosophical Thomism as the most persuasive form of moral inquiry currently on offer. His critique in chapter IX of Nietzsche's and Foucault's genealogical mode as implicitly committed to an emancipatory and continuous notion of self which they cannot account for on their own terms has been of particular influence.

Dependent Rational Animals (1999)


While After Virtue attempted to give an account of the virtues exclusively by recourse to social practices and the understanding of individual selves in light of "quests" and "traditions," Dependent Rational Animals was a self-conscious effort by MacIntyre to ground virtues in an account of biology. MacIntyre writes the following of this shift in the Preface to the book: "Although there is indeed good reason to repudiate important elements in Aristotle's biology, I now judge that I was in error in supposing an ethics independent of biology to be possible."

More specifically, Dependent Rational Animals tries to make a holistic case on the basis of our best current knowledge (as opposed to an ahistorical, foundational claim) that "human vulnerability and disability" are the "central features of human life" and that Thomistic "virtues of dependency" are needed for individual human beings to flourish in their passage from stages of infancy to adulthood and old age. As MacIntyre puts it:

"It is most often to others that we owe our survival, let alone our flourishing ... It will be a central thesis of this book that the virtues that we need, if we are to develop from our animal condition into that of independent rational agents, and the virtues that we need, if we are to confront and respond to vulnerability and disability both in ourselves and in others, belong to one and the same set of virtues, the distinctive virtues of dependent rational animals"


Engaging with scientific texts on human biology as well as works of philosophical anthropology
Philosophical anthropology
Philosophical anthropology is a discipline dealing with questions of metaphysics and phenomenology of the human person, and interpersonal relationships. It is the attempt to unify disparate ways of understanding behaviour of humans as both creatures of their social environments and creators of...

, MacIntyre identifies the human species as existing on a continuous scale of both intelligence and dependency with other animals such as dolphins. One of his main goals is to undermine what he sees as the fiction of the disembodied, independent reasoner who determines ethical and moral questions autonomously and what he calls the "illusion of self-sufficiency" that runs through much of Western ethics culminating in Nietzsche's Übermensch. In its place he tries to show that our embodied dependencies are a definitive characteristic of our species and reveal the need for certain kinds of virtuous dispositions if we are ever to flourish into independent reasoners capable of weighing the intellectual intricacies of moral philosophy in the first place.

Virtue ethics


MacIntyre is a key figure in the recent surge of interest in virtue ethics
Virtue ethics
Virtue ethics describes the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior, rather than rules , consequentialism , or social context .The difference between these four approaches to morality tends to lie more in the way moral dilemmas are...

, which identifies the central question of morality
Morality
Morality is the differentiation among intentions, decisions, and actions between those that are good and bad . A moral code is a system of morality and a moral is any one practice or teaching within a moral code...

 as having to do with the habits and knowledge concerning how to live a good life. His approach seeks to demonstrate that good judgment
Judgment
A judgment , in a legal context, is synonymous with the formal decision made by a court following a lawsuit. At the same time the court may also make a range of court orders, such as imposing a sentence upon a guilty defendant in a criminal matter, or providing a remedy for the plaintiff in a civil...

 emanates from good character
Moral character
Moral character or character is an evaluation of a particular individual's durable moral qualities. The concept of character can imply a variety of attributes including the existence or lack of virtues such as integrity, courage, fortitude, honesty, and loyalty, or of good behaviors or habits...

. Being a good person is not about seeking to follow formal rules. In elaborating this approach, MacIntyre understands himself to be reworking the Aristotelian idea of an ethical teleology
Teleology
A teleology is any philosophical account which holds that final causes exist in nature, meaning that design and purpose analogous to that found in human actions are inherent also in the rest of nature. The word comes from the Greek τέλος, telos; root: τελε-, "end, purpose...

.

MacIntyre emphasizes the importance of moral goods defined in respect to a community engaged in a 'practice' - which he calls 'internal goods' or 'goods of excellence' - rather than focusing on practice-independent obligation
Obligation
An obligation is a requirement to take some course of action, whether legal or moral. There are also obligations in other normative contexts, such as obligations of etiquette, social obligations, and possibly...

 of a moral agent (deontological ethics
Deontological ethics
Deontological ethics or deontology is the normative ethical position that judges the morality of an action based on the action's adherence to a rule or rules. It is sometimes described as "duty" or "obligation" or "rule" -based ethics, because rules "bind you to your duty"...

) or the consequences
Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

 of a particular act (utilitarianism
Utilitarianism
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory holding that the proper course of action is the one that maximizes the overall "happiness", by whatever means necessary. It is thus a form of consequentialism, meaning that the moral worth of an action is determined only by its resulting outcome, and that one can...

). Virtue ethics in European/American academia is associated with pre-modern philosophers (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas), but also fully engaged with other forms of modern ethical systems (e.g. Kantian deontology). MacIntyre has argued that Aquinas' synthesis of Augustinianism with Aristotelianism is more insightful than modern moral theories by focusing upon the telos ('end', or completion) of a social practice and of a human life, within the context of which the morality of acts may be evaluated. His seminal work in the area of virtue ethics can be found in his 1981 book, After Virtue
After Virtue
After Virtue is a book on moral philosophy by Alasdair MacIntyre. MacIntyre provides a bleak view of the state of modern moral discourse, regarding it as failing to be rational, and failing to admit to being irrational. He claims that older forms of moral discourse were in better shape,...

.

MacIntyre considers his work to be outside "virtue ethics" due to his affirmation of virtues as embedded in specific, historically grounded, social practices.

Religion


MacIntyre converted to Roman Catholicism in the early 1980s, and now does his work against the background of what he calls an "Augustinian Thomist approach to moral philosophy." In an interview with Prospect Magazine, MacIntyre explains that his conversion to Catholicism occurred in his fifties as a "result of being convinced of Thomism while attempting to disabuse his students of its authenticity." Also, in his book Whose Justice, Which Rationality? there is a section towards the end that is perhaps autobiographical when he explains how one is chosen by a tradition
Tradition
A tradition is a ritual, belief or object passed down within a society, still maintained in the present, with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes , but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings...

 and may reflect his own conversion to Roman Catholicism.

Fuller accounts of MacIntyre's view of the relationship between philosophy and religion in general and Thomism and Catholicism in particular can be found in his essays "Philosophy recalled to its tasks" and "Truth as a good" (both found in the collection The Tasks of Philosophy) as well as in the survey of the Catholic philosophical tradition he gives in God, Philosophy and Universities.

See also

  • John F. X. Knasas
  • Communitarianism
    Communitarianism
    Communitarianism is an ideology that emphasizes the connection between the individual and the community. That community may be the family unit, but it can also be understood in a far wider sense of personal interaction, of geographical location, or of shared history.-Terminology:Though the term...

  • Virtue Ethics
    Virtue ethics
    Virtue ethics describes the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior, rather than rules , consequentialism , or social context .The difference between these four approaches to morality tends to lie more in the way moral dilemmas are...

  • Rationality
    Rationality
    In philosophy, rationality is the exercise of reason. It is the manner in which people derive conclusions when considering things deliberately. It also refers to the conformity of one's beliefs with one's reasons for belief, or with one's actions with one's reasons for action...

  • Aristotelian ethics
    Aristotelian ethics
    Ethics as a subject begins with the works of Aristotle. In its original form, this subject is concerned with the question of virtue of character , or in other words having excellent and well-chosen habits. The acquisition of an excellent character is in turn aimed at living well and eudaimonia, a...

  • American philosophy
    American philosophy
    American philosophy is the philosophical activity or output of Americans, both within the United States and abroad. The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy notes that while American philosophy lacks a "core of defining features, American Philosophy can nevertheless be seen as both reflecting and...

  • List of American philosophers

Further reading


  • D'Andrea, Thomas D., Tradition, Rationality and Virtue: The Thought of Alasdair Macintyre, Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2006.
  • Bielskis, Andrius, Towards a Post-Modern Understanding of the Political: From Genealogy to Hermeneutics, Basingstoke, New York: Palgrame-Macmillan, 2005.
  • Horton, John, and Susan Mendus (eds.), After MacIntyre: Critical Perspectives on the Work of Alasdair MacIntyre, Cambridge: Polity Press, 1994.
  • Knight, Kelvin, Aristotelian Philosophy: Ethics and Politics from Aristotle to MacIntyre, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2007.
  • Knight, Kelvin, and Paul Blackledge (eds.), Revolutionary Aristotelianism: Ethics, Resistance and Utopia, Stuttgart: Lucius & Lucius, 2008.
  • Lutz, Christopher Stephen, Tradition in the Ethics of Alasdair MacIntyre: Relativism, Thomism, and Philosophy, Lanham, MA: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004.
  • Murphy, Mark C. (ed.), Alasdair MacIntyre, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
  • Myers, Jesse, "Towards Virtue: Alasdair MacIntyre and the Recovery of the Virtues", 2009
  • Perreau-Saussine, Emile http://www.polis.cam.ac.uk/contacts/staff/eperreau-saussine.html: Alasdair MacIntyre: une biographie intellectuelle, Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2005.
  • Seung, T. K.
    T. K. Seung
    T. K. Seung is a Korean American philosopher and literary critic. His academic interests cut across diverse philosophical and literary subjects, including ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of law, cultural hermeneutics, and ancient Chinese philosophy....

    , Intuition and Construction: The Foundation of Normative Theory, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1993. See chapter six: "Aristotelian Revival".
  • Skinner, Quentin. "The Republican Ideal of Political Liberty", Machiavelli and Republicanism, edited by Gisela Bock, Quentin Skinner and Maurizio Viroli; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990, pp. 293–309 (critique of MacIntyre's After Virtue)

Interviews with MacIntyre

  • 'The Illusion of Self-Sufficiency' in A. Voorhoeve Conversations on Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2009).

  • "Nietzsche or Aristotle?" in Giovanna Borradori, The American philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, Kuhn (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994) 137-152.

External links


Online videos of MacIntyre giving lectures