The American Philosopher: Conversations with Quine, Davidson, Putnam, Nozick, Danto, Rorty, Cavell, MacIntyre, and Kuhn

By Rosanna Crocitto; Giovanna Borradori | Go to book overview

8
Nietzsche or Aristotle? Alasdair MacIntyre

Suspended between reminiscences of a past with very ancient roots, sunk deep into the Scottish world of celtic tradition, and the global perspective of American pluralism, Alasdair MacIntyre has enriched contemporary moral debate to an unparalleled extent. Moving with a totally new agility between the meshes of historicism, his discourse points to the circumscription of a neo-Thomist horizon, understood not as a moment of categorical refoundation but, on the contrary, as the point of arrival of the "ethics of virtue," a line of secular reflection that traverses all of classical Greece and reaches full systematization in the thought of Aristotle.

Born in Glasgow, Scotland, in 1929, MacIntyre had to await immersion in the American melting pot, at the age of forty, before imposing some order on the crucible of traditions in which he was forged. A classicist reeducated by analytic philosophy, he spent these first forty years trying to unravel the strands of an intellectual ball of twine including an Anglo-Saxon liberalist heritage, a self- determined Marxist faith, and, finally, a Christian urgency disavowed and rehabilitated in various versions, as testified to by his book Marxism and Christianity ( 1982).

The confrontation with analytic philosophy is the one that has perhaps left the fewest traces on the body of MacIntyre's thought. He criticizes the thematic limitation, the focusing on logical detail and, most of all, the systematic dichotomy between method and historical perspective in this tradition, to which England has con-

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