St. Benedicts Needed? MacIntyre and the New Dark Ages (After Virtue, Conclusions, Audio)

In this conclusion to the series on Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue I think about the significance of MacIntyr’e’s views on modern liberalism/capitalism (neoliberalism) and his ideas for the elements of stronger community. MacIntyre argues that we have entered a new Dark Ages without recognizing it, and that we need new, and probably very different, St. Benedicts to create ways of life to rebuild and preserve community in difficult times. The new Dark Age, as MacIntyre sees it, is a product of the amoral hyper-bureaucratization, technical rationality and fragmented responsibility characteristic of our times. After Virtue does not have all the answers about how to get past these problems, but his views on the elements involved in stronger community are definitely a start. … More St. Benedicts Needed? MacIntyre and the New Dark Ages (After Virtue, Conclusions, Audio)

St. Benedicts Needed? MacIntyre and the New Dark Ages (After Virtue, Conclusions)

In this conclusion to the series on Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue I think about the significance of MacIntyr’e’s views on modern liberalism/capitalism (neoliberalism) and his ideas for the elements of stronger community. MacIntyre argues that we have entered a new Dark Ages without recognizing it, and that we need new, and probably very different, St. Benedicts to create ways of life to rebuild and preserve community in difficult times. The new Dark Age, as MacIntyre sees it, is a product of the amoral hyper-bureaucratization, technical rationality and fragmented responsibility characteristic of our times. After Virtue does not have all the answers about how to get past these problems, but his views on the elements involved in stronger community are definitely a start. … More St. Benedicts Needed? MacIntyre and the New Dark Ages (After Virtue, Conclusions)

Can We Escape Our Past? Self & Responsibility (After Virtue 9 Audio)

In chapters 13-15 of Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, we get to contemplate the idea that we are much more affected by our personal story and and our history than we want to admit. Are we capable of making ourselves into just anything we want to be, regardless of the cards we were dealt? Are we free of responsibility for what we’ve done in our personal past or what our ancestors have done? MacIntyre’s answer is that the existential self, capable of being radically chosen at any given point, is a fantasy which, rather than freeing us, can leave us aimless and depressed. What, then, is the benefit of seeing ourselves as MacIntyre wants us to–benefited but also burdened by the context into which we are born? And how do the virtues fit into all of this? … More Can We Escape Our Past? Self & Responsibility (After Virtue 9 Audio)

Can We Escape Our Past? Self & Responsibility (After Virtue 9)

In chapters 13-15 of Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue, we get to contemplate the idea that we are much more affected by our personal story and and our history than we want to admit. Are we capable of making ourselves into just anything we want to be, regardless of the cards we were dealt? Are we free of responsibility for what we’ve done in our personal past or what our ancestors have done? MacIntyre’s answer is that the existential self, capable of being radically chosen at any given point, is a fantasy which, rather than freeing us, can leave us aimless and depressed. What, then, is the benefit of seeing ourselves as MacIntyre wants us to–benefited but also burdened by the context into which we are born? And how do the virtues fit into all of this? … More Can We Escape Our Past? Self & Responsibility (After Virtue 9)

From Hero to Consumer (After Virtue 8, audio)

This video covers ideas in chapters 10-12 in Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue. In pursuit of an alternative to value neutrality and the fragmented responsibility characterized by modern bureaucracy, Alasdair MacIntyre attempts to reconstruct a history of Western moral development. His aim is to help society re-learn Aristotelian teleology and virtue ethics. But to locate what he’s advocating he goes back to the Homeric Greek heroic ideal, then traces the emergence of a new kind of self (one that is self-conscious and aware of the distinction between self and society) in democratic Athens. Out of this society emerged Aristotle, whose thought came closer to what seems to be MacIntyre’s ideal–one that consciously deals with ethics both at the level of the particular society and at the level of universal claims. MacIntyre distances himself from Aristotle’s “metaphysical biology” and therefore from Aristotle’s claims that there are biologically determined natural roles and different virtues for different people, claiming that Aristotle mistook his society’s particular cultural norms for eternal truths. But can MacIntyre have Aristotle’s teleology and virtue ethics without his biological determinism? That is yet to be seen.
More From Hero to Consumer (After Virtue 8, audio)

From Hero to Consumer (After Virtue 8)

In pursuit of an alternative to value neutrality and the fragmented responsibility characterized by modern bureaucracy, Alasdair MacIntyre attempts to reconstruct a history of Western moral development. His aim is to help society re-learn Aristotelian teleology and virtue ethics. But to locate what he’s advocating he goes back to the Homeric Greek heroic ideal, then traces the emergence of a new kind of self (one that is self-conscious and aware of the distinction between self and society) in democratic Athens. Out of this society emerged Aristotle, whose thought came closer to what seems to be MacIntyre’s ideal–one that consciously deals with ethics both at the level of the particular society and at the level of universal claims. MacIntyre distances himself from Aristotle’s “metaphysical biology” and therefore from Aristotle’s claims that there are biologically determined natural roles and different virtues for different people, claiming that Aristotle mistook his society’s particular cultural norms for eternal truths. But can MacIntyre have Aristotle’s teleology and virtue ethics without his biological determinism? That is yet to be seen. … More From Hero to Consumer (After Virtue 8)

Our Bureaucratic Rulers: Creatures of Enlightenment’s Failure (Audio)

MacIntyre’s argument in chapters 6 and 7 of After Virtue moves further into the problems caused by the fact/value distinction, the development of social science, and the managerial/bureaucratic approach to dealing with people. The threat to democracy posed by the social engineering mode of thinking begins to take center stage. Along the way, unicorns and witches are unmasked so that we can see that, in MacIntyre’s view, without adequate grounding for moral reasoning, there is no justification for rule other than the will to power. … More Our Bureaucratic Rulers: Creatures of Enlightenment’s Failure (Audio)

Our Bureaucratic Rulers: Creatures of Enlightenment’s Failure

MacIntyre’s argument in chapters 6 and 7 of After Virtue moves further into the problems caused by the fact/value distinction, the development of social science, and the managerial/bureaucratic approach to dealing with people. The threat to democracy posed by the social engineering mode of thinking begins to take center stage. Along the way, unicorns and witches are unmasked so that we can see that, in MacIntyre’s view, without adequate grounding for moral reasoning, there is no justification for rule other than the will to power. … More Our Bureaucratic Rulers: Creatures of Enlightenment’s Failure

Aristotelian Virtue Ethics: After Virtue 2 (Audio)

We start with the fundamentals. In order to understand where Alisdair MacIntyre is coming from in After Virtue, we have to understand a few ideas inherited from the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle concerning teleology, man as political, and the meaning of virtue from Aristotle’s perspective. I take a first pass at contrasting Aristotelian thinking with the modern thought that MacIntyre thinks exploded the means of moral agreement within communities. … More Aristotelian Virtue Ethics: After Virtue 2 (Audio)

Introduction to Alasdair MacIntyre and After Virtue (Audio)

After Virtue was first published in 1981, but MacIntyre wrote a new preface in 2007 reasserting his full confidence in the arguments. After Virtue promises to take on emotivism and moral relativism generally and to help us navigate not toward moral absolutism but toward moral judgment through a renewal of Aristotelian virtue ethics. This video introduces key themes, including his disagreement with communitarianism, and a bit of the life of MacIntyre–who’s still going at 90– in preparation for a reading of the third edition of After Virtue. … More Introduction to Alasdair MacIntyre and After Virtue (Audio)