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Edith Stein: A Philosophical Prologue
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. (August 28, 2005)

Edith Stein lived an unconventional life. Born into a devout Jewish family, she drifted into atheism in her mid teens, took up the study of philosophy, studied with Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, became a pioneer in the women's movement in Germany, a military nurse in World War I, converted from atheism to Catholic Christianity, became a Carmelite nun, was murdered at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942, and canonized by Pope John Paul II. Renowned philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre here presents a fascinating account of Edith Stein's formative development as a philosopher.
Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues
Open Court Publishing Company (June 9, 2001).

With characteristic originality and insight, Alasdair MacIntyre explores the nature of practical rationality in the light of our human vulnerability and mutual dependence. Two themes, arising from our animal nature, frame the discussion: the continuities between human beings and other species, and the pervasiveness of human disability. The argument of Dependent Rational Animals relies upon and helpfully illuminates some familiar motifs from MacIntyre: the continuing fertility of a broadly Aristotelian notion of the virtues and the limitations of both the modern nation-state and the family. This fascinating work is wonderfully accessible from beginning to end. It is a model of how profound and complex philosophical argument can be rendered available to a wider public. - Jonathan Wolff, University College, London
The MacIntyre Reader
Edited by Kelvin Knight. University of Notre Dame Press (December 1, 1998).
Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition
Notre Dame, Notre Dame University Press, 1990.

MacIntyre argues that philosophy in general and ethics in particular cannot proceed by means of reasoning from neutral, self-evident facts accepted by all rational persons. Many late Victorian intellectuals believed exactly that, confusing the customs of their time with universal truths. MacIntyre makes little effort to conceal his scorn for this view. Nietzsche and his 20th-century disciples, including Foucault and Deleuze, emphasized force and radical conflict rather than consensus; and though MacIntyre displays more respect for these genealogists (as he terms them) than for the encyclopedists, he does not follow in their path. Instead, he calls for a revival of Thomism. Aquinas combined the best features of Aristotle and Augustine into a synthesis that for MacIntyre has yet to be equaled. The author's careful exposition extends and develops his After Virtue ( LJ 9/15/81) and Whose Justice? Which Rationality? ( LJ 3/15/88). Highly recommended.

- David Gordon, Bowling Green State Univ., Ohio. Library Journal


    Review by Elizabeth Bettenhausen. Theology Today Vol. 48, April 1991.
Whose Justice? Which Rationality?
Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1988.

Is there any cause or war worth risking one's life for? How can we determine which actions are vices and which virtues? MacIntyre, professor of philosophy at Vanderbilt University, unravels these and other such questions by linking the concept of justice to what he calls practical rationality. He rejects the grab-what-you-can, utilitarian yardstick adopted by moral relativists. Instead, he argues that four wholly different, incompatible ideas of justiceput forth by Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas and Humehave helped shape our modern individualistic world. In his unorthodox view, each person seeks the good through an ongoing dialogue with one of these traditions or within Jewish, non-Western or other historical traditions. This weighty sequel to After Virtue (1981) is certain to stir debate. - Publisher's Weekly


    Review by Dr. Muhammad Legenhausen. al Tawhid Islamic Journal, vol. 14 No. 2 Qum, The Islamic Republic of Iran.
    Recoiling from Reason by Martha C. Nussbaum. New York Review of Books Volume 36, Number 19 December 7, 1989.
After Virtue
Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981.

Morality, according to Alasdair MacIntyre, is not what it used to be. In the Aristotelian tradition of ancient Greece and medieval Europe, morality enabled the transformation from untutored human nature as it happened to be to human nature as it could be if it realized its telos (fundamental goal). Eventually, belief in Aristotelian teleology waned, leaving the idea of imperfect human nature in conflict with the perfectionist aims of morality. The conflict dooms to failure any attempt to justify the claims of morality, whether based on emotion, such as Hume's was, or on reason, as in the case of Kant. The result is that moral discourse and practice in the contemporary world is hollow: although the language and appearance of morality remains, the substance is no longer there. Disagreements on moral matters appeal to incommensurable values and so are interminable; the only use of moral language is manipulative.

The claims presented in After Virtue are certainly audacious, but the historical erudition and philosophical acuity behind MacIntyre's powerful critique of modern moral philosophy cannot be disregarded. Moreover, independently of its principal claims, the book, first published in 1981, helped to stimulate philosophical work on the virtues, to reinvigorate traditionalist and communitarian thought, and to provoke valuable discussion in the history of moral philosophy. It was so widely discussed that MacIntyre added another chapter to the second edition in order to reply to his critics. After Virtue continues to deserve attention from philosophers, historians, and anyone interested in moral philosophy and its history. -- Glenn Branch


~ About MacIntyre
Tradition in the Ethics of Alasdair MacIntyre
by Christopher Stephen Lutz. Lexington Books (February, 2004).

Tradition in the Ethics of Alasdair MacIntyre presents a stimulating intellectual history and expertly reasoned defense of this towering figure in contemporary American philosophy. Drawing on interviews and published works, Christopher Lutz traces MacIntyreAIs philosophical development and refutes the criticisms of the major thinkers--including Martha Nussbaum and Thomas Nagel--who have most vocally attacked him. Permanently shifting the debate on MacIntyreAIs oeuvre, Lutz convincingly demonstrates how MacIntyreAIs neo-Aristotelian ethical thought provides an essential corrective to the contemporary discussions of relativism and ideology, while successfully drawing on the objectivity of Thomistic natural law.
Alasdair Macintyre: Contemporary Philosophy in Focus, edited by Mark C. Murphy.
Cambridge University Press (June 23, 2003).

Alasdair MacIntyre's writings on ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of religion, philosophy of the social sciences and the history of philosophy have established him as one of the philosophical giants of the last fifty years. His best-known book, After Virtue (1981), spurred the profound revival of virtue ethics. Moreover, MacIntyre, unlike so many of his contemporaries, has exerted a deep influence beyond the bounds of academic philosophy. This volume focuses on the major themes of MacIntyre's work with critical expositions of MacIntyre's views on the history of philosophy, the role of tradition in philosophical inquiry, the philosophy of the social sciences, moral philosophy, political theory, and his critique of the assumptions and institutions of modernity. Written by a distinguished roster of philosophers, this volume will have a wide appeal outside philosophy to students in the social sciences, law, theology, and political theory. Mark C. Murphy is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Georgetown University. He is author of Natural Law and Practical Rationality (Cambridge, 2001) and An Essay on Divine Authority (Cornell, 2002), as well as of a number of articles on natural law theory, political obligation, and Hobbes' moral, political, and legal philosophy. His papers have appeared in Ethics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Nous, Faith and Philosophy, Law and Philosophy, American Philosophical Quarterly, the Thomist, and elsewhere.
Living Faithfully in a Fragmented World: Lessons for the Church from Macintyre's After Virtue
By Jonathan R. Wilson. Morehouse Group (July 1998)

This book describes several aspects of contemporary culture that create both opportunities and threats to Christian mission. It offers insights and practices that the church today must embrace in order to live faithfully and witness effectively to the gospel.

Following a presentation of the church's history in relation to Western culture, several chapters draw upon specific suggestions in Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue -- that we live in a fragmented rather than a pluralistic world; how the church has compromised its faithfulness by accommodating the mainstream of morality; implications stemming from the collapse of "the Enlightenment project"; and the need for a "new monasticism" together with forms the life of the church must take to sustain a faithful witness in contemporary culture.

Jonathan R. Wilson is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies, Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA, and the author of Theology as Cultural Critique.

Alasdair MacIntyre: Critic of Modernity
P. McMylor, Routledge, 1994.


    Review by Martyn Hammersley. Open University. Reviewing Sociology Volume 10 Number 1 1997.
Kierkegaard After MacIntyre: Essays on Freedom, Narrative, and Virtue
Edited by John Davenport and Anthony Rudd. Open Court (May 2001).

The last decade has seen a revival of interest in Kierkegaard's thought, particularly in the fields of theology, social theory, and literary and cultural criticism. The resulting discussions have done much to discredit the earlier misreadings of Kierkegaard's works. This collection of essays by Kierkegaard scholars represents the new consensus on Kierkegaard and his conception of moral selfhood. It answers the charges of one of Kierkegaard's biggest critics, contemporary philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, and shows how some of Kierkegaard's insights into tradition, virtuous character, and the human good may actually support MacIntyre's ideas.


    Review by Martyn Hammersley. Open University. Reviewing Sociology Volume 10 Number 1 1997.