After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory / Edition 3

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When After Virtue first appeared in 1981, it was recognized as a significant and potentially controversial critique of contemporary moral philosophy. Newsweek called it "a stunning new study of ethics by one of the foremost moral philosophers in the English-speaking world." Now, twenty-five years later, the University of Notre Dame Press is pleased to release the third edition of After Virtue, which includes a new prologue "After Virtue after a Quarter of a Century."

In this classic work, 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 the individual chapters are wide-ranging, once pieced together they comprise a penetrating and focused argument about the price of modernity. In the Third Edition prologue, MacIntyre revisits the central theses of the book and concludes that although he has learned a great deal and has supplemented and refined his theses and arguments in other works, he has "as yet found no reason for abandoning the major contentions" of this book. 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."

About the Author:
Alasdair MacIntyre is research professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame

"A stunning new study of ethics by one of the foremost moral philosophers in the English-speaking world."--Newsweek

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
After Virtue is a striking work. It is clearly written and readable. The nonprofessional will find MacIntyre perspicuous and lively. He stands within the best modern traditions of writing on such matters.” —New York Review of Books

“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

After Virtue is a rigorous, ambitious, and original book. It is a reinterpretation of the entire history of Western moral philosophy, as decline, fall, and—possibly—rebirth.” —The Village Voice

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780268035044
  • Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Edition description: 3rd Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 173,682
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Alasdair MacIntyre is research professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author of numerous books, including Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (Notre Dame Press, 1988) and Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition (Notre Dame Press, 1990).

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Table of Contents

Prologue: After Virtue after a Quarter of a Century     ix
Preface     xvii
A Disquieting Suggestion     1
The Nature of Moral Disagreement Today and the Claims of Emotivism     6
Emotivism: Social Content and Social Context     23
The Predecessor Culture and the Enlightenment Project of Justifying Morality     36
Why the Enlightenment Project of Justifying Morality Had to Fail     51
Some Consequences of the Failure of the Enlightenment Project     62
'Fact', Explanation and Expertise     79
The Character of Generalizations in Social Science and their Lack of Predictive Power     88
Nietzsche or Aristotle?     109
The Virtues of Heroic Societies     121
The Virtues of Athens     131
Aristotle's Account of the Virtues     146
Medieval Aspects and Occasions     165
The Nature of the Virtues     181
The Virtues, the Unity of a Human Life and the Concept of a Tradition     204
From the Virtues to Virtue and after Virtue     226
Justice as a Virtue: Changing Conceptions     244
After Virtue: Nietzsche or Aristotle, Trotsky and St. Benedict     256
Postscript to the Second Edition     264
Bibliography     279
Index     283
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  • Posted February 10, 2009

    After Virtue - Provides a clearer understanding of your life in modernity

    One of the most important philosophy books of the 20th century. Helps those of us living in modernity to understand why what we observe in human behavior and the way that institutions function are inconsistent with how people and institutions represent themselves. I am not referring to mere hypocrisy, which has always existed, but a server limitation of one¿s own understanding of the magnitude of contradictory principles that guide action today. MacIntyre famously draws qualified parallels between the conditions shortly before the Roman Empire¿s decline into the Dark Ages and conditions facing our own age in Europe and North America. One parallel is that people of good-will reach a turning point when they no longer believe that those in government possess civility and moral integrity - virtues that communities value. One difference he points out is that Rome¿s adversarial barbarians were ¿waiting beyond the frontiers,¿ whereas the barbarians of today ¿have been governing us for quite some time.¿ This notion that we are governed by barbarians provides a new frame of reference we may use in evaluating the two major American political parties and the motives and actions of President Obama for the next four years. Political rhetoric will never sound the same after reading this book. I highly recommend it. <BR/><BR/>Richard Poirier, Los Angeles, CA

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