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After virtue : a study in moral theory by Alasdair MacIntyre

By Alasdair MacIntyre

"[I]t is whatever to have a ebook, dedicated to convinced particularly crucial technical philosophical questions, that's more likely to produce so passionate a response." —New York evaluation of Books

"A extraordinary synthesis . . . ." —Richard Rorty

"A beautiful new examine of ethics. . . ." —Newsweek

"The most sensible publication of philosophy in years." —John Gardner

"To name this a great booklet is to be patronizing; it's a huge booklet, one who should be up or spoke back. it can be a very good one, as are all turning issues in a tide of drama whose protagonists have idea their classes inexorable." —Choice, February 1982

When After Virtue first seemed in 1981, it was once famous without delay as an important and possibly debatable critique of latest ethical philosophy. Now, in a brand new bankruptcy, Alasdair MacIntyre responds to the questions and issues raised via the numerous admirers and critics who made After Virtue this kind of greatly learn and mentioned paintings of philosophy. considering the discussion generated via his ebook during the last 3 years, he elaborates his place at the courting of philosophy to heritage, the virtues and the difficulty of relativism, and the connection of ethical philosophy to theology. In doing so, MacIntyre sustains the claims of his imperative conclusions to rational justification and demonstrates extra the responsibility of philosophy to the realm and instances it seeks to describe.

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Empirical history is one thing, philosophy quite another. But are we right in understanding the division between academic disciplines in the way that we conventionally do? Once again there seems to be a possible relationship between the history of moral discourse and the history of the academic curriculum. Yet at this point it may rightly be retorted: You keep speaking of possibilities, of suspicions, of hypotheses. You allow that what you are suggesting will initially seem implausible. You are in this at least right.

What I also came to recognize was that my conception of human beings as virtuous or vicious needed not only a metaphysical, but also a biological grounding, although not an especially Aristotelian one. This I provided a good deal later in Dependent Rational Animals, where I argued that the moral significance of the animality of human beings, of rational animals, can be understood only if our kinship to some species of not yet rational animals, including dolphins, is recognized. And in the same book I was also able to give a better account of the content of the virtues by identifying what I called the virtues of acknowledged dependence.

Parts of this book have been read to various groups and their extended critical responses have been most valuable to me. In particular I must name the group that studied the Foundations of Ethics together for three years at the Hastings Center with the aid of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities—short passages from papers presented to that group in Volumes III and IV of the series on The Foundations of Ethics and its Relationship to the Sciences (1978 and 1980) reappear in Chapters 9 and 14 of this book and I am grateful to the Hastings Institute of Society, Ethics and the Life Sciences for permission to reprint them.

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