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1. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
Christopher Stephen Lutz Editor’s Preface
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2. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
Christopher Stephen Lutz Tradition as a Fragile Practice: Some Implications of Alasdair MacIntyre’s Theory of Rationality for the Study of Philosophy
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This paper has four parts. The first part gives an overview of Alasdair MacIntyre’s theory of rationality; the remaining three parts examine the theory’s implications through the consideration of three examples. Two examples, the reception of MacIntyre’s mature work and the study of Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways, illustrate the implications of MacIntyre’s theory for reading and interpreting contemporary literature and historical texts. A third example, the investigation of late medieval nominalism, shows how the more straightforward problems of reading and interpreting can be exacerbated during periods of transition within traditions. Traditions, it turns out, can be fragile, yet once broken they are capable of concealing their incoherence and inconsistency from their current and future scholars. If MacIntyre’s theory that rationality is both tradition-constituted and tradition-constitutive is truthful, it follows that the work of contemporary reading, traditional interpretation, and historical scholarship always requires careful attention to differences in rationalities, lest readers misinterpret by filling gaps in their readings with their own presuppositions.
3. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
Stanley Hauerwas How I Think I Learned To Think Theologically
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Stanley Hauerwas draws upon the Aristotelian philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor to reflect upon his own approach to theology. Like MacIntyre and Taylor, Haurwas rejects the modern theoretical “position from nowhere” that demands “a ground that is unassailable.” Instead he approaches theology as an exercise of practical rationality that takes seriously the varied “presumptions that shape the character” of different individuals and communities. Hauerwas reflects on the practical nature of theology by surveying his own attempt to work as a theologian. This seemingly self-reflexive exercise, however, does not lead to an implicit or explicit embrace of the privileged first person singular. Rather Hauerwas uses this exercise to reflect on the political character of theology in so far as the particularity of any theologian—any singular “I”—simply doesn’t exist apart from the speech that makes her life and work both possible and intelligible. Attending to language and agency is another way to understand how the work of theology is at once practical and particular, meaning theology will always be political.
4. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
Christophe Rouard The Thomism of Alasdair MacIntyre: Which Ethics? Which Epistemology?
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This article studies the Thomism of Alasdair MacIntyre. On the ethical level, it highlights the importance of the thesis of the unity of the virtues in the philosopher’s work. This thesis is linked to an underlying epistemology the article clarifies. The God of the Prima Pars constitutes the Archimedean point of that epistemology, which the distinctions made in the De Veritate and De Ente and Essentia explain philosophically. This epistemology is at the heart of MacIntyrean thought, which is opposed in that to Hilary Putnam, an important foil in his work. The article shows how. It presents the way in which Alasdair MacIntyre moves beyond the internalist impasse while honoring the relativity of all rational investigation. It likens his thought to that of Charles Sanders Peirce while shedding light on the Thomistic specificity of the MacIntyrean theory of truth. It positions Alasdair MacIntyre’s work within the context of contemporary Thomism.
5. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
John C. Caiazza Paradigms, Traditions, and History: The Influence of Philosophy of Science on MacIntyre’s Ethical Thought
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MacIntyre’s mature ethical philosophy was the result of his becoming aware of trends in the philosophy of science in the 1970s when MacIntyre had reached a block in the development of his ethical theory. MacIntyre translated Kuhn’s theory of “paradigms” and Lakatos’s “research programmes” into his richly developed theory of ethical “traditions,” which constitutes a historicist ethical philosophy. This point is argued by a detailed comparison of Kuhn’s theory of paradigms with MacIntyre’s traditions; emphasizing paradigms rather than research programs is more productive for highlighting the historicist aspects of MacIntyre’s ethical philosophy. Paradigms and traditions are compared in four areas. Both philosophies deny the validity of the Enlightenment ideal of universal reason, and of social science. Kuhn never resolves the issues connected with the radical incomparability of paradigms. MacIntyre does derive a method of comparing ethical traditions in favor of the Augustinian/Aristotelian/Thomistic one. Questions of ontology remain.
6. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
Paul Blackledge Alasdair MacIntyre as a Marxist and as a Critic of Marxism
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This essay reconstructs Alasdair MacIntyre’s engagement with Marxism with a view both to illuminating the co-ordinates of his mature thought and to outlining a partial critique of that thought. While the critique of Marxism outlined in After Virtue is well known, until recently Marx’s profound influence on MacIntyre was obscured by a thoroughly misleading attempt to label him as a communitarian thinker. If this erroneous interpretation of MacIntyre’s mature thought is now widely discredited, the fact that he has distanced himself from several of the arguments he previously gave for rejecting Marxism both reduces the theoretical space between his mature thought and his early Marxism and highlights a consistent theme in his critique of Marxism since the 1960s to which this essay is addressed: his dissatisfaction with the ethical dimension of Marxist attempts to theorise the relationship between socialist militants and the working-class movement from below.
7. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
Kelvin Knight History and Plurality
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Alasdair MacIntyre has long believed that philosophy should be conducted with reference to its past. Since After Virtue, he has argued that philosophy’s past should be understood in terms of rival traditions. This essay attempts to chart the development of MacIntyre’s historical thinking about ethics against the longer development of liberalism’s rival tradition of thinking about history, drawing contrasts with what was said by Immanuel Kant on progress, R. G. Collingwood on civilization, and John Rawls on pluralism.
8. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
Bryan R. Cross MacIntyre on the Practice of Philosophy and the University
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Especially since his “Reconceiving the University as an Institution and the Lecture as a Genre,” Alasdair MacIntyre has repeatedly returned to the subject of reconceiving university education, proposing a vision of what a university is and what a university education should be that differs widely from contemporary institutions and practices, and offering strong criticisms of the contemporary research university. He has argued provocatively that in its present form, the contemporary research university is not a university at all because it does not carry out the purpose of a university. MacIntyre has also argued that philosophical practice always takes place within some tradition or other, and has identified as his own the broader Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition in which philosophy is to be understood as a craft. In this essay I examine and develop the relationship between MacIntyre’s critique of the contemporary research university, and his conception of philosophy as a craft practiced within a tradition.
9. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
Sante Maletta Beyond the Naked Square: The Idea of an Agonistic Public Sphere
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The major aim of this paper is to present some reflections about the political domain and the common good that may be helpful in answering the following issue: How can religions contribute to the common good? The problematic background of this paper can be summarized by the so-called Dilemma of Böckenförde (“The free secular state lives according to presuppositions that it cannot itself guarantee”), which presents the difficulties secular states have in creating social capital, and by the Habermasian notion of a “post-secular society,” an expression used by the German philosopher to summarize the curious situations of Western secularized states, where religions continue to play important public roles. I will first discuss the notion of “neutralization” with the support of Carl Schmitt. Then I will present Chantal Mouffe’s doctrine of “agonistic pluralism” and her partial legitimization of the presence of religions in the political domain. Finally, I will criticize Mouffe’s approach with the help of Alasdair MacIntyre’s phenomenology of social practices in order to stress the importance of public religions in contemporary liberal societies.
10. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
Geoff Moore, Ron Beadle, Anna Rowlands Catholic Social Teaching and the Firm: Crowding in Virtue: A MacIntyrean Approach to Business Ethics
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Catholic Social Teaching (CST) aspires to an economy that serves needs, upholds justice, and inculcates subsidiarity. But it suffers from a significant omission—it fails to look “inside” the business organisations that comprise the fundamental building blocks of the economic system. It is therefore ill-equipped to suggest how businesses could be reformed to meet these aspirations. MacIntyre’s Thomistic Aristotelian account of the relationships between goods, virtues, practices and institutions provides resources that could enable CST to overcome this lacuna. This paper describes the MacIntyrean account and compares it with CST’s existing categories. It then analyses the case of the Lloyds Banking Group. This allows not only diagnosis, but potentially a prescriptive account of how virtue may be “crowded-in” to business organisations. The paper concludes by suggesting that this approach might make a distinctive contribution to CST, and hence enable CST to make an even more significant contribution to business ethics.
11. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
Alasdair MacIntyre Ends and Endings
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The question posed in this paper is: Is there an end to some type of activity which is the end of any rational agent? It approaches an answer by a critical examination of one view of human beings that excludes this possibility, that advanced by Harry Frankfurt. It is argued that once we have distinguished, as Frankfurt does not, that which we have good reason to care about from that which we do not have good reason to care about, we are able to identify a conception of a final end for human activity, one that we put to work when wee consider the ways in which a life may have gone wrong and one that we find indispensable for our understanding of narrative.
12. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly: Volume > 88 > Issue: 4
Contents of Volume 88 (2014)
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