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A Celebration of Alasdair MacIntyre

In anticipation of the September 2022 publication of Alasdair MacIntyre: An Intellectual Biography, the University of Notre Dame Press is excited to feature six celebrated works written by the renowned philosopher.

After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, Third Edition

In After Virtue, 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 he recognizes that his conception of human beings as virtuous or vicious needed not only a metaphysical but also a biological grounding, ultimately 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.

“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

A Short History of Ethics: A History of Moral Philosophy from the Homeric Age to the Twentieth Century, Second Edition

A Short History of Ethics is a significant contribution written by one of the most important living philosophers. For the second edition Alasdair MacIntyre has included a new preface in which he examines his book “thirty years on” and considers its impact. It remains an important work, ideal for all students interested in ethics and morality.

“This brilliant and provocative book is not so much a history of ethics as it is an essay about the history of ethics, with numerous examples. For that reason it is interesting and philosophically important in a way that most short histories of some branch of philosophy ‘from Homer to today’ are not. . . . It is important, not as one more pedantic history, but for its demonstration that the history of ethics can be more than a chronologically ordered set of summaries with occasional connective remarks about influences and refutations.”

Philosophical Review

Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry

Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry puts up a fight against philosophical relativism. The current form is the ‘incommensurability,’ so-called, of differing standpoints or conceptual schemes. MacIntyre claims that different schools of philosophy must differ fundamentally about what counts as a rational way to settle intellectual differences. He labels and discusses three significantly different standpoints: the encyclopedic, the genealogical and the traditional.

“[T]hese chapters surely show that he must be the past, present, future and all-time philosophical historians’ historian of philosophy.

The New York Times Book Review

Against the Self-Images of the Age: Essays on Ideology and Philosophy

In Against the Self-Images of the Age, MacIntyre criticizes Christianity, Marxism, and psychoanalysis for their failure to express the forms of thought and action that constitute our contemporary social life, and argues that a greater understanding of our complex world will require a more thorough inquiry into the philosophy of the social sciences.

“The main impression left by this collection . . . is of the scope and thoroughness of Alasdair MacIntyre’s interests and the admirable fertility of his mind.”

Times Literary Supplement

Whose Justice? Which Rationality?

Whose Justice? Which Rationality?, the sequel to After Virtue, is a persuasive argument of there not being rationality that is not the rationality of some tradition. MacIntyre examines the problems presented by the existence of rival traditions of inquiry in the cases of four major philosophers: Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, and Hume.

“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.”


Marxism and Christianity 

In Marxism and Christianity, MacIntyre contends that Marxism achieved its unique position in part by adopting the content and functions of Christianity and details the religious attitudes and modes of belief that appear in Marxist doctrine as it developed historically from the philosophies of Hegel and Feuerbach, and as it has been carried on by latter-day interpreters from Rosa Luxemburg and Trotsky to Kautsky and Lukacs. The result is a lucid exposition of Marxism and an incisive account of its persistence and continuing importance.

“…a discerning, solid book…a significant contribution to both the emerging Marxist-Christian dialogue and the task of building the future that awaits us all.”

The New Republic

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