A Study in Moral Theory, Third Edition
”After Virtue is a striking work. It is clearly written and readable. The nonprofessional will find MacIntyre perspicuous and lively. He stands within the best modern traditions of writing on such matters.” —New York Review of Books
“MacIntyre’s arguments deserve to be taken seriously by anybody who thinks that the mere acceptance of pluralism is not the same thing as democracy, who worries about politicians wishing to give opinions about everything under the sun, and who stops to think of how important Aristotelian ethics have been for centuries.” —The Economist
When After Virtue first appeared in 1981, it was recognized as a significant and potentially controversial critique of contemporary moral philosophy. Newsweek called it “a stunning new study of ethics by one of the foremost moral philosophers in the English-speaking world. Now, twenty-five years later, the University of Notre Dame Press is pleased to release the third edition of After Virtue, which includes a new prologue “After Virtue after a Quarter of a Century.”
In this classic work, Alasdair MacIntyre examines the historical and conceptual roots of the idea of virtue, diagnoses the reasons for its absence in personal and public life, and offers a tentative proposal for its recovery. While the individual chapters are wide-ranging, once pieced together they comprise a penetrating and focused argument about the price of modernity.
In the Third Edition prologue, MacIntyre revisits the central theses of the book and concludes that although he has learned a great deal and has supplemented and refined his theses and arguments in other works, he has “as yet found no reason for abandoning the major contentions” of this book. He remains “committed to the thesis that it is only from the standpoint of a very different tradition, one whose beliefs and presuppositions were articulated in their classical form by Aristotle, that we can understand both the genesis and the predicament of moral modernity.”
Alasdair MacIntyre is research professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of numerous books, including Whose Justice? Which Rationality? and Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition, both also published by the University of Notre Dame Press.
“MacIntyre has reconsidered and extended his ideas since the 1981 and 1984 editions, but retains his central thesis that it is only possible to understand the dominant moral culture of advanced modernity adequately from a standpoint external to that culture. He is still an Aristotelian, he says, but has come to believe that Thomas Aquinas expressed Aristotle’s views better than the old man himself did.” — Reference and Research Book News
“If MacIntyre’s admittedly bleak diagnosis of our times is not accepted, the rivalry it sparked surely has some benefit for the interface between competing traditions. And where it is accepted, it will also be because those who accept it have not give up on our capacity, despite everything else, to be virtuous.” — Catholic Books Review