Aristotelian Philosophy: Ethics and Politics from Aristotle to MacIntyre

Overview

Aristotle is the most influential philosopher of practice, and Knight's new book explores the continuing importance of Aristotelian philosophy. First, it examines the theoretical bases of what Aristotle said about ethical, political and productive activity. It then traces ideas of practice through such figures as St Paul, Luther, Hegel, Heidegger and recent Aristotelian philosophers, and evaluates Alasdair MacIntyre's contribution. Knight argues that, whereas Aristotle's own thought legitimated oppression, ...

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Overview

Aristotle is the most influential philosopher of practice, and Knight's new book explores the continuing importance of Aristotelian philosophy. First, it examines the theoretical bases of what Aristotle said about ethical, political and productive activity. It then traces ideas of practice through such figures as St Paul, Luther, Hegel, Heidegger and recent Aristotelian philosophers, and evaluates Alasdair MacIntyre's contribution. Knight argues that, whereas Aristotle's own thought legitimated oppression, MacIntyre's revision of Aristotelianism separates ethical excellence from social elitism and justifies resistance.

With MacIntyre, Aristotelianism becomes revolutionary. MacIntyre's case for the Thomistic Aristotelian tradition originates in his attempt to elaborate a Marxist ethics informed by analytic philosophy. He analyses social practices in teleological terms, opposing them to capitalist institutions and arguing for the cooperative defence of our moral agency. In condensing these ideas, Knight advances a theoretical argument for the reformation of Aristotelianism and an ethical argument for social change.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kelvin Knight has done so much more to situate my thoughthistorically, and to relate it to the philosophical and politicalthought of others, not only than I have ever done, but than I wouldever have been able to do."
Alasdair MacIntyre in Analyse & Kritik

"A clear, judicious history of Aristotelianism in Westernthought in order to explain the development of Alasdair MacIntyre'sthought. The book is exceptionally well organized, and the analysesof the different interpreters of Aristotle - especially MacIntyre -are intelligently concise and probing. Highly recommended [for]upper-division undergraduates, graduate students andresearchers/faculty."
Charles E. Butterworth, Choice

"A very fine piece of scholarship ... [It] will be regularlyused for teaching at postgraduate level."
Peter McMylor, (author of Alasdair MacIntyre: Critic ofModernity) writing in Philosophy of Management

"Well-structured and tightly packed without being impenetrable,it should prove vital to contemporary work on Aristotelianism andMacIntyre and more generally useful to advanced students ofpolitical theory."
Journal of Moral Philosophy

"Just as we can be grateful to MacIntyre for his revitalizationof Aristotle in the present day, so too can we be grateful toKnight for a lucid and valuable account of MacIntyre's own thought.His book helps to clarify MacIntyre's philosophical lineage and inparticular to re-assert the continued importance of his earlyMarxism. In so doing, it helps to make the case for "revolutionaryAristotelianism" as not the oxymoron it might initially appear, butrather a powerful contemporary alternative to both conservatism andliberal democracy."
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"Combines philosophical and historical erudition with clearprose and a sympathetic tone, and is highly recommended to studentsof the Aristotelian philosophical tradition as well as to anyoneinterested in learning more about the origins and nature ofMacIntyre's distinctive Aristotelianism and its relationship to thetradition."
European Legacy

"At times highly technical due to its depth and nuance ofcomplex concepts, Aristotelian Philosophy is a welcomeaddition to college library and philosophical studiesshelves."
Midwest Book Review

"Writing with passion and on the basis of deep knowledge of theevolution of MacIntyre’s thought, Knight argues convincinglythat he effects an anti-elitist reformation of Aristotelianphilosophy."
Political Studies Review

"Kelvin Knight puts his readers greatly in debt for thismasterful and erudite study of the history of Aristotelianphilosophy, with particular emphasis on MacIntyre's place in thathistory. Notwithstanding his disclaimers in the conclusion, Knighthas in fact produced a clear account of 'the conceptual subtletiesand political implications' of MacIntyre's Aristotelianismelsewhere unmatched."
Bruce Ballard, author of Understanding MacIntyre

"Philosophically and historically informed, but written in anengaging and readable style, the book presents a stimulating andoften distinctive account of key phases in the development ofAristotelian thought, culminating in an extended and sympatheticdiscussion of the work of Alasdair MacIntyre. Knight's account ofMacIntyre's political philosophy is the best that I know of."
John Horton, University of Keele

"This is an impressive intellectual history, both with respectto its account of the various receptions and transformations ofAristotelian practical philosophy generally and with respect to itsaccount of the development and character of Alasdair MacIntyre'sown distinctive Aristotelianism. With respect to the former:Aristotelianism is not a monolithic tradition, and Knight does amasterful job in pulling apart the Aristotelianisms that areelitist from those that are anti-elitist and in pulling apart thoseAristotelianisms that are conservative from those that arerevolutionary. With respect to the latter: MacIntyre's views arewidely caricatured by shallow writers, and we have been much inneed of an account of those views that shows just how radical andanti-elitist MacIntyre's Aristotelianism is; Knight's book fulfilsthis need with great thoroughness and skill."
Mark Murphy, Georgetown University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745619774
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/27/2007
  • Series: Please Select a Ser.
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.54 (d)

Meet the Author

Kelvin Knight is Director of the Centre forContemporary Aristotelian Studies in Ethics and Politics at theLondon Metropolitan University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vi

Introduction 1

1 Aristotle’s Theoretical and Practical Philosophy 4

2 Christian Practice and Medieval Philosophy 41

3 Aristotle in Germany 64

4 A Revolutionary Aristotelianism 102

MacIntyre’s Marxism 104

‘Aristotelianism’ 124

Social Ethics 144

Politics 167

Aristotelianism’s Reformation 189

Conclusion 222

References 226

Index 244

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