Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry
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125 pages
English

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MacIntyre's project, here as elsewhere, is to put up a fight against philosophical relativism. . . . The current form is the 'incommensurability,' so-called, of differing standpoints or conceptual schemes. Mr. MacIntyre claims that different schools of philosophy must differ fundamentally about what counts as a rational way to settle intellectual differences. Reading between the lines, one can see that he has in mind nationalities as well as thinkers, and literary criticism as well as academic philosophy. More explicitly, he labels and discusses three significantly different standpoints: the encyclopedic, the genealogical and the traditional. . . . [T]he chapters on the development of Christian philosophy between Augustine and Duns Scotus are very interesting indeed. . . . [MacIntyre] must be the past, present, future, and all-time philosophical historians' historian of philosophy. -The New York Times Book Review

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Publié par
Date de parution 12 mai 1994
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780268160562
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

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THREE RIVAL VERSIONS OF MORAL ENQUIRY
Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry
Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition
being Gifford Lectures delivered in the University of Edinburgh in 1988
by
Alasdair MacIntyre
UNIVERSITY OF NOTRE DAME PRESS
NOTRE DAME, INDIANA
Copyright 1990 by Alasdair MacIntyre
Published by the University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
www.undpress.nd.edu
Published in the United States of America
All Rights Reserved
Paperback published in 1991; reprinted in 1993, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2012
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
MacIntyre, Alasdair, MacIntyre C.
Three rival versions of moral enquiry : encyclopaedia, genealogy, and tradition: being Gifford lectures delivered in the University of Edinburgh in 1988 / by Alasdair MacIntyre.
p. cm.
ISBN 0-268-01871-5 (cl.)
ISBN 13: 978-0-268-01877-1 (pbk.)
ISBN 10: 0-268-01877-4 (pbk.)
1. Ethics-Methodology. 2. Ethics, Modern-19th century. 3. Encyclopaedia Britannica. 4. Ethics. 5. Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 1844-1900. Zur Genealoggie der Moral. 6. Catholic Church. Pope (1878-1903) : Leo XIII). Aeterni Patris. 7. Thomists. I. Title. II. Title: Gifford Lectures.
BJ37.M23 1990
170 .9 034-dc20
89-29275
ISBN 9780268160562
This book is printed on acid-free paper .
This e-Book was converted from the original source file by a third-party vendor. Readers who notice any formatting, textual, or readability issues are encouraged to contact the publisher at ebooks@nd.edu .
For
L YNN S UMIDA J OY
onna kara
saki e kasumu zo
shiohigata
Kobayashi Issa
Contents
Preface
Introduction
I
Adam Gifford s Project in Context
II
Genealogies and Subversions
III
Too Many Thomisms?
IV
The Augustinian Conception of Moral Enquiry
V
Aristotle and/or/against Augustine: Rival Traditions of Enquiry
VI
Aquinas and the Rationality of Tradition
VII
In the Aftermath of Defeated Tradition
VIII
Tradition against Encyclopaedia: Enlightened Morality as the Superstition of Modernity
IX
Tradition against Genealogy: Who Speaks to Whom?
X
Reconceiving the University as an Institution and the Lecture as a Genre
Index
Preface
Anyone invited to deliver a set of Gifford Lectures at Edinburgh University is bound to feel daunted by the standards set by his or her predecessors. The great honor conferred by the Gifford Committee is a very welcome burden, but nonetheless a burden. I was and am therefore immensely grateful both to the members of that committee and to many others for the ways in which they did so very much to lighten that burden by their large academic and social hospitality. I owe my warmest thanks to the Reverend Professor Duncan B. Forrester for assistance of more kinds than I can mention. While I was giving the lectures, I was also a Fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and I am deeply indebted to Professor Peter Jones, the director of the Institute and to the Institute for his and its generosity.
During the lectures in April and May, 1988, a seminar was held at New College and the members of that seminar contributed substantially to the lectures by the pertinacity of their questioning. Often enough I would come away from a seminar knowing that I had to rewrite some passage in a lecture yet to come or to rethink something that I had already said. To all the members of that seminar I give my thanks, especially to Barry Barnes for the exercise of his outstanding ability to give to critical discussion a constructive direction.
During 1988-89 I was the Henry R. Luce Jr. Visiting Scholar at the Whitney Humanities Center of Yale University. One of the duties of a Visiting Scholar is to conduct a faculty seminar, and I used this opportunity to have the text of my Gifford Lectures subjected to further criticism. It was a privilege to be put to the question in this way and I am all too conscious of the inadequacy of my responses both in the seminar and in the resulting final version of the lectures. So much remains to be done. I am peculiarly in the debt of Jonathan Lear and of Joseph Raz for discussion both in the seminar and outside it. And I am delighted to have this opportunity to express, albeit inadequately, to Peter Brooks, Jonathan Spence, Jonathan Freedman, and Sheila Brewer my gratitude for all the help and support that made my time at the Whitney Center so very profitable and so very enjoyable.
Finally I have to thank the National Endowment for the Humanities for financial support, in 1987 and 1988, of extended research on the history of the place of philosophy in the curriculum, research which provided the basis for some of the argument of these lectures, especially in lectures III-VII.
Alasdair MacIntyre
South Bend, Indiana
July 1989
Introduction
Every set of philosophical lectures, both as originally delivered and, if later published, as readdressed to a larger, often more multifarious audience, embodies a standpoint inescapably defined by that particular lecturer s engagement with two sets of issues: those explicitly addressed in the lectures and those which arise from the lecturer s relationships to his or her first and second (and sometimes later on third and fourth and ) audiences. There have of course been long periods in the history of the lecture as an academic genre during which no one needed to advert explicitly to this latter type of issue. The relationship between lecturer and audience was in such periods taken for granted by both parties, and the social, moral, and intellectual presuppositions of that relationship did not need to be articulated, perhaps could not have been fully articulated. They embodied extensive and fundamental agreements, both concerning the subject matters conventionally assigned to the lecture as a genre and concerning the point and purpose of lecturing as an academic activity.
There have also however been periods in which such agreements have to some significant degree been challenged or rejected, in which the hitherto accepted definitions of subject matters have become questionable, in which audiences have become heterogeneous, divided, and fragmented, and in which the lecture, by its transformation into an episode in some new, perhaps not or not yet fully recognized form of debate and conflict, can no longer be thought of or delivered in the same way. When I first wrote these Gifford Lectures, I could not avoid remarking, just because of the issues which furnished my subject matter, that the period in which Lord Gifford prescribed their duties to his lecturers was of the former kind, while that in which I had the task of carrying out these duties was of the latter. And passages concerned with this contrast appear in a number of the lectures. But even when so writing I had not yet reckoned sufficiently with the way in which, or the degree to which, the problems and questions arising from it would be raised for me by the characteristically generous and often searching responses of my audiences at Edinburgh and at Yale.
Members of audiences for the most part hear or read a lecture as a contribution to some more extended enquiry or continuing debate or conflict with which they are already to some degree acquainted and in which they may have been already engaged as participant or committed as partisan. Sometimes of course someone will find him or herself introduced by a particular lecture to some quite new form of enquiry or some hitherto unknown debate, so that that lecture is a starting point, rather than an episode in, some already embarked-upon enquiry or debate. At both Edinburgh and Yale, however, it was plain that for the vast majority these lectures were heard as continuations and not as beginnings. Yet within each of these two audiences the differences and divisions were such that different groups in both audiences understood the lectures as episodes within very different enacted narratives of enquiry and debate, thus interpreting and evaluating them from a number of very different standpoints. It was somewhat as if some remarks made by someone standing at the point of intersection of three very different groups, engaged in three distinct conversations, were understood by the members of each group as a contribution to and continuation of the themes and arguments of its conversation. Yet this simile, while it communicates the divergent understandings and evaluations of these lectures which emerged both in seminar discussions and in many prolonged private conversations, is inadequate just insofar as it fails to bring out the degree to which each such mode of interpretation and evaluation was in some key way at odds with each other such mode, so that the lectures were a set of differently understood interventions not merely in a continuing set of conversations, but in a continuing quarrel.
What were these differences? They had two dimensions. In the lectures I discuss three very different and mutually antagonistic conceptions of moral enquiry, each stemming from a seminal late nineteenth-century text: the Ninth Edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica , Nietzsche s Zur Genealogie der Moral and the encyclical letter of Pope Leo XIII Aeterni Patris . When I speak of moral enquiry, I mean something wider than what is conventionally, at least in American universities, understood as moral philosophy, since moral enquiry extends to historical, literary, anthropological, and sociological questions. And indeed among the matters on which the three types of moral enquiry with which I am concerned differ is the nature and scope of moral enquiry. So th

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