American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 88, No. 4, Fall 2014

The Review of Metaphysics, December 2014 | Go to article overview

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 88, No. 4, Fall 2014


Tradition as a Fragile Practice: Some Implications of Alasdair MacIntyre's Theory of Rationality for the Study of Philosophy, CHRISTOPHER STEPHEN LUTZ

This paper has four parts. The first part gives an overview of Alasdair MacIntyre's theory of rationality; the remaining three parts examine the theory's implications through the consideration of three examples. Two examples, the reception of MacIntyre's mature work and the study of Thomas Aquinas's Five Ways, illustrate the implications of MacIntyre's theory for reading and interpreting contemporary literature and historical texts. A third example, the investigation of late medieval nominalism, shows how the more straightforward problems of reading and interpreting can be exacerbated during periods of transition within traditions. Traditions, it turns out, can be fragile, yet once broken they are capable of concealing their incoherence and inconsistency from their current and future scholars. If MacIntyre's theory that rationality is both tradition-constituted and tradition-constitutive is truthful, it follows that the work of contemporary reading, traditional interpretation, and historical scholarship always requires careful attention to differences in rationalities, lest readers misinterpret by filling gaps in their readings with their own presuppositions.

How I Think I Learned To Think Theologically, STANLEY HAUERWAS

Stanley Hauerwas draws upon the Aristotelian philosophy of Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor to reflect upon his own approach to theology. Like MacIntyre and Taylor, Haurwas rejects the modern theoretical "position from nowhere" that demands "a ground that is unassailable." Instead he approaches theology as an exercise of practical rationality that takes seriously the varied "presumptions that shape the character" of different individuals and communities. Hauerwas reflects on the practical nature of theology by surveying his own attempt to work as a theologian. This seemingly self-reflexive exercise, however, does not lead to an implicit or explicit embrace of the privileged first-person singular. Rather, Hauerwas uses this exercise to reflect on the political character of theology insofar as the particularity of any theologian--any singular "I"--simply doesn't exist apart from the speech that makes his life and work both possible and intelligible. Attending to language and agency is another way to understand how the work of theology is at once practical and particular, meaning theology will always be political.

The Thomism of Alasdair MacIntyre: Which Ethics? Which Epistemology? CHRISTOPHE ROUARD

This article studies the Thomism of Alasdair MacIntyre. On the ethical level, it highlights the importance of the thesis of the unity of the virtues in the philosopher's work. This thesis is linked to an underlying epistemology. The God of the prima pars constitutes the Archimedean point of that epistemology, which the distinctions made in the De Veritate and De Ente et Essentia explain philosophically. This epistemology is at the heart of MacIntyrean thought, which is opposed in that to Hilary Putnam, an important foil in his work. The article presents the way in which Alasdair MacIntyre moves beyond the internalist impasse while honoring the relativity of all rational investigation. It likens his thought to that of Charles Sanders Peirce while shedding light on the Thomistic specificity of the MacIntyrean theory of truth. It positions Alasdair MacIntyre's work within the context of contemporary Thomism.

Paradigms, Traditions, and History: The Influence of Philosophy of Science on MacIntyre's Ethical Thought, JOHN C. CAIAZZA

MacIntyre's mature ethical philosophy was the result of his becoming aware of trends in the philosophy of science in the 1970s, when he had reached a block in the development of his ethical theory. MacIntyre translated Kuhn's theory of "paradigms" and Lakatos's "research programmes" into his richly developed theory of ethical "traditions," which constitutes a historicist ethical philosophy. …

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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly Vol. 88, No. 4, Fall 2014
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