Friday, March 5, 2021

After Virtue: My Favorite Book on Moral Theory

My favorite book on moral theory, among those published after 1960, is Alasdair MacIntyre’s 1981 book After Virtue. He presents a rather pessimistic view of moral theory (and by implication political theory), and explains why there can never be an agreement on whether a particular moral theory is rational or irrational. His analysis of the failures of the modern theories of morality, spawned during and after the Age of Enlightenment, is brilliant. He provides a possible solution in the Aristotelian virtue ethics tradition, but he does not claim his solution is the rational one, though he suggests that his solution is the one that might work.

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