An Intellectual Biography
216 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Paperback | 9780268203269 | February 2024
Hardcover | 9780268203252 | September 2022
eBook (Web PDF) | 9780268203276 | September 2022
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268203245 | September 2022
This award-winning biography, now available for the first time in English, presents an illuminating introduction to Alasdair MacIntyre and locates his thinking in the intellectual milieu of twentieth-century philosophy.
Winner of the prestigious 2005 Philippe Habert Prize, the late Émile Perreau-Saussine’s Alasdair MacIntyre: Une biographie intellectuelle stands as a definitive introduction to the life and work of one of today’s leading moral philosophers. With Nathan J. Pinkoski’s translation, this long-awaited, critical examination of MacIntyre’s thought is now available to English readers for the first time, including a foreword by renowned philosopher Pierre Manent.
Amid the confusions and contradictions of our present philosophical landscape, few have provided the clarity of thought and shrewdness of diagnosis like Alasdair MacIntyre. In this study, Perreau-Saussine guides his readers through MacIntyre’s lifelong project by tracking his responses to liberalism’s limitations in light of the human search for what is good and true in politics, philosophy, and theology. The portrait that emerges is one of an intellectual giant who comes to oppose modern liberal individualism’s arguably singular focus on averting evil at the expense of a concerted pursuit of human goods founded upon moral and practical reasoning. Although throughout his career MacIntyre would engage with a number of theoretical and practical standpoints in service of his critique of liberalism, not the least of which was his early and later abandoned dalliance with Marxism, Perreau-Saussine convincingly shows how the Scottish philosopher came to hold that Aristotelian Thomism provides the best resources to counter what he perceives as the failure of the liberal project. Readers of MacIntyre’s works, as well as scholars and students of moral philosophy, the history of philosophy, and theology, will find this translation to be an essential addition to their collection.
Émile Perreau-Saussine (1972–2010) was a lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge and the author of Alasdair MacIntyre: une biographie intellectuelle and Catholicisme et démocratie.
Nathan J. Pinkoski is a research fellow and director of academic programs at the Zephyr Institute.
Pierre Manent is professor emeritus of political philosophy at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. He is the author of numerous books, including Montaigne: Life without Law (University of Notre Dame Press, 2020).
“Alasdair MacIntyre is one of the most influential and widely read moral philosophers of the last three or four decades. This remarkably erudite and comprehensive book is an indispensable guide for anyone who has a serious interest in twentieth-century moral and political philosophy.” —Richard Kraut, author of The Quality of Life
“The book is a sympathetic treatment of the ideas that have consistently run through MacIntyre’s complicated career, but it doesn’t hesitate to pose to MacIntyre tough-minded intellectual challenges. It is a genuine philosophical dialogue between two serious thinkers.” —Ronald Beiner, author of Dangerous Minds
"Provides a penetrating overview of the ideas of 20th-century moral philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre. . . . Perreau-Saussine proves a talented historian of ideas, cogently elucidating how such diverse traditions as Marxism, Catholicism, and Aristotelianism come together in MacIntyre’s writings." —Publishers Weekly
"[The book's] treatment of MacIntyre’s religious struggles and his journey to the Catholic Church is perhaps its strongest part and will be a revelation to anyone accustomed to a more narrowly philosophical approach to MacIntyre’s ideas." —Current
"MacIntyre stands in the modern intellectual landscape as one of tradition’s great champions, but he was never a particularly happy warrior, even though he had a great deal to say about what makes men happy. Anyone who is intrigued by these puzzles will find this book of considerable interest." —Law & Liberty
"Alasdair MacIntyre: An Intellectual Biography by Émile Perreau-Saussine seeks to defend the Scottish philosopher’s standing as one of the most profound theorists of capitalist modernity on either side of the Atlantic. . . . [A]long the way we do learn a great deal about MacIntyre’s life and how it informed his unique blend of Marxist-Catholic Scholasticism." —Jacobin
"Alasdair MacIntyre is a moral philosopher of the first rank. . . . May our contemporaries be receptive to the wisdom and moderation that informs this splendid and timely book." —Claremont Review of Books
"On the whole, this is a[n] . . . insightful essay in intellectual history. Or rather, it is three essays, dealing respectively with MacIntyre’s politics, philosophy, and theology. The first covers MacIntyre’s early involvement with the British New Left. . . . A second chapter deals with the philosophy of action and ethics. . . . A last chapter, on theology, sees Perreau-Saussine return to safer ground." —First Things
"Perreau-Saussine makes a valuable contribution for those looking to understand the context and nature of Alasdair MacIntyre’s thought. He strikes a balance by pulling together biographical details, intellectual influences, and a variety of publications to craft a portrait of one of the twentieth century’s most influential philosophers." —The University Bookman
"[F]or those who would like to consider the merits and demerits of liberal democracy in a judicious way, Emile Perreau-Saussine’s critical study of one of antiliberalism’s éminence grise is now available. It is both a specimen and a model of the sort of political philosophizing sorely needed in our trying times." —Law & Liberty
“Alasdair MacIntyre: An Intellectual Biography, by the philosopher Émile Perreau-Saussine, is less an academic study than an essay on MacIntyrean themes. . . It’s engaging and accessible.” —The Nation
"The real value of Perreau-Saussine’s biography lies less in its exposition of MacIntyre’s intellectual development than in its extended clarification of what is at stake in the questions MacIntyre explores. . . . For Perreau-Saussine, political progress will come when we better navigate these tensions within the liberal order, not when we seek to resolve them entirely outside it. Whether his eminent case proves his point is worth our careful reflection." —The Hedgehog Review
"In this book, Perreau-Saussine traces the complex intellectual development of Scottish American philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre (b. 1924) with a view to showing the underlying unity of his life’s work. ...Recommended." —Choice