Really tough reading. Maybe just the nature of subject and my general lack of acquaintance with discussions on the role of analogy in St. Thomas, butReally tough reading. Maybe just the nature of subject and my general lack of acquaintance with discussions on the role of analogy in St. Thomas, but I sweat philosophic sweat trying to read this book.
Not qualified to comment on the actual quality of the book; just saying it's not a beginner text. ...more
The gentle reader is advised that it may be an act of hubris to even attempt reading this book, let alone to expect to understand it.
Due warning beinThe gentle reader is advised that it may be an act of hubris to even attempt reading this book, let alone to expect to understand it.
Due warning being given....
The author's preface says that the whole meaning of the book could be summed up by saying, "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent." The author also made the claim that the book essentially solves all the problems of philosophy, and simultaneously shows how little has been done when those problems have been solved. What follows is a new theory of logic, in which Wittgenstein also manages to touch on issues of free will and ethics. I will not attempt to explain or critique any of it, since I definitely did not understand it.
I hear that Wittgenstein later rejected the approach he took in Tractatus, however, criticizing all his earlier work as largely mistaken. So not only does he confuse us all with his first work; he then goes on to tell us it was all wrong anyway.... ...more
I'm slightly divided on what I think of this book: on the one hand, I think Bastiat's anthropology of man is quite stunted ("individuality, liberty, pI'm slightly divided on what I think of this book: on the one hand, I think Bastiat's anthropology of man is quite stunted ("individuality, liberty, property,--this is man"), he doesn't really give Rousseau a fair hearing, and he sounds decidedly immature after the depth of Tocqueville; on the other hand, his defense of liberty against artificial systems was pretty cool. Worth it, if just for the last two chapters. ...more
Great book. It feels slightly Justin Bieber fangirl-ish to love this book and author as much as I do, but it was that good. Even though I had heard reGreat book. It feels slightly Justin Bieber fangirl-ish to love this book and author as much as I do, but it was that good. Even though I had heard references to MacIntyre's work many times before, reading After Virtue straight through cleared up so much confusion, it almost felt like a paradigm realignment. If you've ever been involved in an argument involving moral questions, and you suddenly realized the debate was pointless because you were both arguing from disagreeing and rationally un-demonstrable starting principles, or sat pondering Kant, Hume, and Mill, and suddenly it occurred to you that Nietzsche blows the whole mess out of the water--your perceptions will resonate with the basic arguments of this book.
Since I have recently gained some respect for the Enlightenment, which I previously did not have, I was afraid--from what I knew of the thesis of the book--that the whole thing would be a rant against the Enlightenment moral philosophers. This was not the case. In general, MacIntyre seems to be making the case that men such as Kant and Hume were doing the best they could to preserve the content of basic morality, but they were all working within an analytic framework that tried to make moral theory an autonomous subject to be investigated on its own, and was inevitably doomed to perish at the hands of a Nietzsche.
What MacIntyre argues was missing is an understanding of morality as a subject necessarily situated in historical traditions, for which the Aristotelian conception of the virtues represents "the best theory so far"--later, I believe, he moves the primary focus to Aquinas, as a better representative of this tradition. I couldn't resist a little rejoicing in his claim that Jane Austen, William Cobbett and the French Jacobins were the last great representatives of the classical tradition of the virtues. ;)
The critique of analytic moral theory is quite clear, and the question that remains at the end of this book is whether MacIntyre's positive arguments for the tradition of the virtues save him from charges of historical relativism. Personally, I would also have liked to see a bit more on the subject of Marxist challenges. However, according to the postscript to the second edition, further development of MacIntyre's presentation of the Aristotelian moral tradition is the subject of later books.
I'm not going to give this a rating. Seriously, it's Plato. What more can be said? (Other than a lot more footnotes...) Love him or hate him, it's easI'm not going to give this a rating. Seriously, it's Plato. What more can be said? (Other than a lot more footnotes...) Love him or hate him, it's easy to see how the depth and breadth of his thought could become the cornerstone of western philosophy.
Yes, much of what he says will be horrifying to the modern mind. (And personally, I would add that we have a right to be horrified at some of it.) But take Plato patiently. He really does have a mind that is not to be written off lightly, no matter what you think of his ideas.
And after you do that, go read some Aristotle for the sake of balance. :)