Abstract: Is Knud Eiler Løgstrup's conception of the ethical demand as deeply incompatible with the central theses of 20th century French Thomistic moral philosophy as it seems to be? Discussion of this question requires attention to both the Lutheran and the phenomenological background of Løgstrup's thought; a consideration of the Danish and French social contexts in which the claims of the two moral philosophies were developed; and an enquiry into how far aspects of each are complementary to rather than in (...) conflict with the other. An historical explanation for the genesis of the kind of normativity without norms defended by both Løgstrup and Levinas is proposed. (shrink)
Alasdair MacIntyre’s seminal book After Virtue was central in the rehabilitation of the Aristotelian approach to ethics. His work in moral and political philosophy is among the most important of his generation, and is influenced by Marx, Aquinas, Aristotle, and conversion to Roman Catholicism. He is a permanent senior research fellow at the University of Notre Dame.
How should we respond when some of our basic beliefs are put into question? What makes a human body distinctively human? Why is truth an important good? These are among the questions explored in this collection of essays by Alasdair MacIntyre, one of the most creative and influential philosophers working today. Ten of MacIntyre's most influential essays written over almost thirty years are collected together here for the first time. They range over such topics as the issues raised by different (...) types of relativism, what it is about human beings that cannot be understood by the natural sciences, the relationship between the ends of life and the ends of philosophical writing, and the relationship of moral philosophy to contemporary social practice. They will appeal to a wide range of readers across philosophy and especially in moral philosophy, political philosophy, and theology. (shrink)
Alasdair MacIntyre argues that Freud's conception of the unconscious is complicated by his tendency to use the term in two different ways. MacIntyre shows how Freud uses the term "unconscious" both as a straightforward description of psychological phenomena, and as an evaluative notion to explain the links between childhood events and adult behavior. This clarification helps to shed light on the many misunderstandings of psychoanalysis, and to separate out what is and what is not of lasting value in Freud's account (...) of the unconscious. This new edition includes a substantial new preface by the author, in which he discusses repression, determinism, transference, and "practical rationality," and offers a rare comparison of Aristotle and Lacan on the concept of desire. MacIntyre takes the opportunity to reflect both on the reviews and criticisms of the first edition and also on his own philosophical stance. (shrink)
When we deny the truth of someone else’s moral beliefs and give our grounds for so doing, we make or imply judgments about the inadequacy of their reasons for belief and about the causes of their belief. And we presuppose a difference between them and us in both respects. In so doing we provide matter for a shared philosophical inquiry about the relevant types of reason and cause. It is a mark of rational disagreement on matters of serious moral import (...) that we who so disagree should be prepared to engage in this inquiry and to recognize its standards as binding on us unqualifiedly. This recognition commits us to a denial of moral relativism. Some of these best examples of rational disagreement are found in some, although only some, of the exchanges between medieval Islamic, Jewish and Christian philosophers. (shrink)
Imagine first the case of J (who might be anybody, jemand). J used to inhabit a social order, or rather an area within a social order, where socially approved roles were unusually well-defined. Responsibilities were allocated to each such role and each sphere of role-structured activity was clearly demarcated. These allocations and demarcations were embodied in and partly constituted by the expectations that others had learned to have of those who occupied each such role. For those who occupied those roles (...) to disappoint those expectations by failing to discharge their assigned responsibilities was to invite severe disapproval and other sanctions. To refuse to find one's place within the hierarchies of approved roles, or to have been refused a place, because judged unfit for any such role, was to be classified as socially deviant and irresponsible. The key moral concepts that education had inculcated into J were concepts of duty and responsibility. His fundamental moral beliefs were that each of us owes it to others to perform her or his assigned duties and to discharge her or his assigned responsibilities. A good human being performs those duties, discharges those responsibilities, and does not trespass into areas that are not her or his concern. A philosopher who comes across the likes of J will understand his attitudes as cultural parodies, in part of Plato (conceiving of justice as requiring ‘that each do her or his own work and not meddle with many things’ Republic 433a) and in part of Kant (doing one's duty just because it is one's duty and not for the sake of any further end), authors who had influenced J's school teachers. A sociologist will entertain the suspicion that in certain types of social order it may be only in the form of parodies that some types of concept can continue to find expression. But for the moment let us put this thought on one side and return to J. (shrink)
Widely acknowledged to be the perfect introduction to the subject, this important text presents in concise form an insightful yet exceptionally complete history of moral philosophy in the West, from the Greeks to contemporary times.
This paper compares the central theses of Edmund M. Pincoffs’s Quandaries and Virtues with those of F. H. Bradley’s Ethical Studies. Both Pincoffs and Bradley understand virtues and duties as functional in respect of the common good of the social order. Both reject the individualism of Kantian and utilitarian theories. Both believe that ordinary moral agents do not appeal to and do not need to appeal to the kinds of justification for action defended by such theories. It is argued that (...) the importance of these resemblances is partly disguised by the differences between Pincoffs’s and Bradley’s view. Pincoffs and Bradley are among those who, in the debates of modern moral philosophy, have recurrently defended an antitheoretical account against a variety of theorists. It is claimed that this debate is and must be inconclusive. (shrink)