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After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (Englisch) Taschenbuch – Juni 1984

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Morality, according to Alasdair MacIntyre, is not what it used to be. In the Aristotelian tradition of ancient Greece and medieval Europe, morality enabled the transformation from untutored human nature as it happened to be to human nature as it could be if it realized its telos (fundamental goal). Eventually, belief in Aristotelian teleology waned, leaving the idea of imperfect human nature in conflict with the perfectionist aims of morality. The conflict dooms to failure any attempt to justify the claims of morality, whether based on emotion, such as Hume's was, or on reason, as in the case of Kant. The result is that moral discourse and practice in the contemporary world is hollow: although the language and appearance of morality remains, the substance is no longer there. Disagreements on moral matters appeal to incommensurable values and so are interminable; the only use of moral language is manipulative.

The claims presented in After Virtue are certainly audacious, but the historical erudition and philosophical acuity behind MacIntyre's powerful critique of modern moral philosophy cannot be disregarded. Moreover, independently of its principal claims, the book, first published in 1981, helped to stimulate philosophical work on the virtues, to reinvigorate traditionalist and communitarian thought, and to provoke valuable discussion in the history of moral philosophy. It was so widely discussed that MacIntyre added another chapter to the second edition in order to reply to his critics. After Virtue continues to deserve attention from philosophers, historians, and anyone interested in moral philosophy and its history. --Glenn Branch

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Discusses the nature of moral disagreement, Nietzsche, Aristotle, heroic societies, and the virtue of of justice.

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Format: Taschenbuch
This book captures the nature of modern moral debate: shattered, fragmented, with pieces of concepts bandied about in bad faith by people substituting arrogance for erudition.
Macintyre describes the emotivist nature of modern moral thought, the attempt to relegate moral discussion to a "personal" matter. He argues that this is the nadir, the deep dark hole we have fallen into -- moral thought was once clear and precise, offering real choices. His view depends on Aristotle, and attempts to show the wrong turns of the Englightenment.
The book is sweeping, which makes for some jumpy reading. He asserts some points which he does not want to bother to prove. There is almost a rushed feeling to some of the arguments, as if he wants to get them on the table very fast.
The argument boils down to an attempt to begin a restoration of moral debate, by picking up pieces and polishing the shards. His attempt is to show a historical nature to moral arguments, sited within social contexts, and to show that this in fact offers a strength to moral debate, rather than a weakening through relativism.
If you wonder why everyone seems to be talking past each other, and why moral discussion is nigh unto impossible to sustain, this book offers answers. It is a worthy beginning, or maybe a last diagnosis before the curtain falls. Read it to understand why we are what C.S. Lewis calls "men without chests".
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Format: Taschenbuch
After Virtue is a delightful book which presents the contemporary problem of moral philosophy today. MacIntyre says that there is an interminability of moral debate today. No consensus solution to the variety of moral issues such as abortion and war will present itself because proponents of both sides of the arguments in these two issues argue from a different set of premises from a different tradition of moral philosophy. You have Thomistic ideals of the value of life and justice against Rousseauist ideals of individuality, for example, in life issues. Can any of the enlightenment moral philosophies really help us make rational, clear decisions about the morality of a particular decision? MacIntyre investigates the moral philosophies of Kant, Hume, & Kierkegard, showing how each of them miserably fail as possible moral systems. Utilitarianism, pragmatism, and emotivism are also wonderfully skewered. With what are we left? It seems as if after the failure of these systems we are left with the Nietzschean amorality of total chaotic relativism. MacIntyre understands the enigma of Nietzsche's ideas and shows how his attacks toppled the pompous, arrogant ideals of the Enlightenment. But Nietzsche's system seems impossible from a human standpoint, since, for example, we are left with the unsettling discovery that events such as the Holocaust are not really "wrong" in any objective sense. MacIntyre interjects that there is another alternative: go back to the source of the Enlightenment project.Lesen Sie weiter... ›
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Format: Taschenbuch
This work, which represents possibly the most important *classical* responses to modern liberalism (Strauss' is the other candidate) is of huge importance because it presents a complex, compelling accout of Aristotle for those to whom Aristotle is important but too unknown (e.g. students of Heidegger, natural scientists, Straussians). MacIntyre's breadth of knowledge of the Western tradition, as well as his courage in taking on squarely (if sometimes unsuccessfully) every issue that crosses his argument is truly amazing. This book succeeds at presenting a fierce critique of modern liberalism, as it shows us the incoherence in our speech about morality, and challenges our most central ideals (e.g. rights, liberal freedom, utility, objectivity). This book should be read by any who want to understand the current debate over liberalism and should be read again and again by those who agree with MacIntyre's critique--there is much more here than can be digested in one casual reading.
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The other reviewers have grabbed exactly what MacIntyre was getting at, if one combines their comments. It is certainly true that MacIntyre wishes to "skewer" the major moral philosophies of the modern day. This is absolutely necessary for his project. If he wishes to re-establish Aristotelian moral philosophy, he must first discredit those philosophies that have tried to destroy Aristotelianism. He does an excellent job, which is why After Virtue sparked so much debate. This book is a wonderful introduction to MacIntyre's thought, and is complemented by his Short History of Ethics (get the second edition). Any lover of Aristotle will be thrilled, and those who don't will be somewhat frightened and forced to re-think their positions.
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For anyone interested in understanding one facet of the current debate over political liberalism, this book is invaluable. MacIntyre is consistently understandable and while many may not agree with his views they simply cannot deny his relevance to the discussion. A necessary read for those wishing to be well-informed.
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