Groping for Moral Certitude (After Virtue 5)

In Chapters 4 and 5 MacIntyre begins his critique of modern political thought, going backwards from existentialism to the early modern period, tracing the steps that led to the disconnect with the older Aristotelian/Christian tradition. After finding that no modern political thought has been able to adequately ground its preferences for certain moral principles in anything solid, he argues that most of these philosophers operated with unacknowledged preferences for traditional values but had no good argument for them. He then begins the process of arguing for a teleological perspective–the idea that we can judge things (and people?) good or bad based on whether or not they fulfill their natural function. This is, of course, the most controversial element in MacIntyre’s argument so far, because it may be construed as threatening the freedom of the individual to invent himself.

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