- Taschenbuch: 432 Seiten
- Verlag: Univ of Notre Dame; Auflage: Reprint (Dezember 1989)
- Sprache: Englisch
- ISBN-10: 0268019444
- ISBN-13: 978-0268019440
- Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 3,3 x 22,9 cm
- Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 1 Kundenrezension
- Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 401.106 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (Englisch) Taschenbuch – Dezember 1989
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"MacIntyre is widely informed and his story of developments in the traditions that he identifies is learned, interesting, and notably well-written." --London Review of Books
"Alasdair MacIntyre has done it again. Here [he] delivers on his promise in After Virtue to develop an account of rationality and justice that is tradition specific. . . . What is so remarkable about MacIntyre's achievement is his ability to combine close historical analysis with philosophical argumentation while never losing his narrative line. . . . His analysis illumines our situation in an extraordinary manner." --Commonweal
"MacIntyre is a master of the history of ideas. . . . [He] helps us to understand why so many people are stymied today in articulating beliefs that underlie their traditions of inquiry, practice, and public discourse." --Commentary
"[MacIntyre's] diagnosis of what ails recent moral philosophy is brilliant." --Wilson Quarterly
"MacIntyre's rich historical exposition displays all the erudition and philosophical subtlety that his readers have come to expect from his work. . . . [T]here is much to admire in MacIntyre's unflinching indictment of liberal modernity." --The New Criterion
Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende
Alasdair MacIntyre is research professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of numerous books, including After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, Third Edition, A Short History of Ethics, and Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition, all published by the University of Notre Dame Press.
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This is a very challenging book to read, but also one that will deepen your thinking about the world, whether you agree with it or not.
We largely take it for granted that (1) people disagree significantly about a wide range of issues related to ethics, and that (2) people do not agree about enough standards of rationality to resolve these ethical disagreements. MacIntyre puts this by saying that "logical incompatibility and incommensurability" both obtain (p. 351). What conclusion should we draw from these facts? One common response is relativism, which is roughly the view that the truth or falsity of a claim depends on the perspective from which it is evaluated. However, MacIntyre argues against relativism based on a brilliant reinterpretation of several major Western philosophical traditions.
The Western Englightenment (of which Descartes is paradigmatic), rejected appeals to tradition, canonical texts and authority, and attempted to put in their place the "appeal to principles undeniable by any rational person," and hence independent of culture, history, etc. "Yet both the thinkers of the Enlightenment and their successors proved unable to agree as to what precisely those principles were which could be found undeniable by all rational persons" (p. 6). Since the Enlightenment, most Western thinkers have either (1) continued to search for principles that are universally acceptable to all minimally rational humans (and continued to fail in this quest), or (2) given up on the quest for universal principles of reason, but -- paradoxically -- continued to assume the Enlightenment prejudice that any rational justification would have to be universal, ahistorical, and acultural.
MacIntyre suggests that neither approach has learned the lesson of the failure of the Enlightenment project, which is that any rational justification has to be parochial, historical and in a particular cultural context.
Since rational justification must be historical, the bearers of justification are not "theories" in the abstract, but embodied traditions. MacIntyre examines four sample traditions in this book (although he admits there are many more): the Aristotelian-Thomistic, the Augustinean, and those of the "Scottish Enlightenment" and modern liberalism.
Traditions like these can undergo "epistemological crises": situations in which a tradition, by its own standards, increasingly discloses "new inadequacies, hitherto unrecognized incoherences, and new problems for the solution of which there seem to be insufficient or no resources within the established fabric of belief" (p. 362). A tradition may find a way to survive such a crisis (as Thomas Aquinas helped Christianity to do by synthesizing Augustineanism and Aristotelianism), but it may also fail. And because the possibility of failure is there, relativism is false: a tradition can come to see that its claims are false even by its own standards.
Even if my tradition is not in an obvious crisis, I can realize that I have a rational justification for rejecting or modifying it. Suppose I am confronted with an alien intellectual tradition which is both incompatible and incommensurable with my own. Because the two are incompatible, I cannot simply agree with both traditions. But because of incommensurability, I cannot directly convince the adherents of the rival tradition that they are wrong (nor can they directly convince me). I can, however, learn to be "bilingual" in the two traditions. The Aristotelian can learn, for example, to "speak Confucian," as it were. Having done so, he occupies a special perspective, from which he may conclude that the Confucian worldview offers a superior interpretation of the strengths and weaknesses of his own tradition. Or he may conclude the opposite. Or he may conclude that some sort of synthesis is possible, which is superior to either one individually. For this reason also, relativism is not true, despite the fact that traditions are, when speaking one to the other, incommensurable: someone occupying one tradition *can* see that his views are fundamentally mistaken.
MacIntyre argues that, of the four traditions he considers in this book, three have entered inescapable epistemological crises, while one (the tradition of Thomas Aquinas) has answered all challenges so far. The bulk of the book is a history of the four traditions. If you want to get the outline of MacIntyre's view, I recommend chapters 1 (the intro), 7-8 (on Aristotle), 9 (on Augustine), 10-11 (on Aquinas's synthesis), 16 (on Hume), 17 (on liberalism), and 18-20 (MacIntyre's grand theory).
This is, of course, an easier book to read if you have read some previous philosophy (Thomas Kuhn's _The Structure of Scientific Revolutions_ is in the background of much of what MacIntyre says, even though he doesn't cite Kuhn very often), but a bright, motivated non-philosopher can read and greatly enjoy this book too.
The overarching thesis of the book is sound nonetheless. To give a very basic outline, MacIntyre traces several traditions, broadly being the predominant Hellenist and Christian ones, before moving on to establish liberalism as its own tradition. Not every philosopher is give exhaustive or detailed treatment. Aristotle, Plato, Augustine, Aquinas, and Hume are the real stars here. The Scottish Enlightenment is dwelt upon in much detail to explain Hume, so other important philosophical movements such as British Empiricism, German Idealism, etc. are marginalized. Despite these omissions [the book is long enough as it is], the central thesis coheres nicely and arrives at its conclusion in a most decisive manner.
Though MacIntyre's thesis that liberalism itself constitutes a tradition may seem tame, taken into proper perspective, it is actually quite revolutionary. Considering that modernity [à la Descartes] rejected all appeal to tradition and sought to construct a purely rational account of the human and his society and to, thereby, construct a utopian future applicable to all times and places, to claim that it is itself a traditional is a smack on the face that effectively historicizes the Enlightenment tradition. Therefore, justice and rationality-in other words what is proper action and what are the proper reasons for acting-must be understood through the historicized lens of the context of a specific tradition that any ethical discourse plugs into for its legitimacy.
The book concludes with a cogent discussion of the nature of traditions, their birth, evolution, death, and how we can understand the nature of our own beliefs as being a part of tradition. The key, determinant events in these narratives are `epistemological crises'. MacIntyre tries to makes the case that Thomism has hitherto best weathered the tests of time.
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