Alasdair MacIntyre readers discussion

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Stan | 2 comments Mod
Not sure of the formatting or procedures here, but I'm Stan. Hope this might start things. Been hooked on MacIntyre for over a year now, well... maybe more actually. Sort of bird-dogged his name through return readings of Stanley Hauerwas. I am - as MacIntyre seems to be - a fan of Karl Polanyi's "The Great Transformation." I'm kind of a neophyte about philosophy, so I read and re-read MacIntyre slowly... like eating an elephant, I have to do it one bite at a time. I'd love to hear from other folks who get kinda excited by his work. Peace.


Stan | 2 comments Mod
“In many pre-modern, traditional societies it is through his or her membership in a variety of social groups that the individual identifies himself or herself and is identified by others. I am brother, cousin and grandson, member of this household, that village, this tribe. These are not characteristics that belong to human beings accidentally, to be stripped away in order to discover ‘the real me’. They are part of my substance, defining partially at least and sometimes wholly my obligations and my duties. Individuals inherit a particular space within an interlocking set of social relationships: Lacking that space, they are nobody, or at least a stranger and an outcast. To know oneself as such a social person is however not to occupy a static and fixed position. It is to find oneself placed at a certain point on a journey with set goals; to move through life is to make progress – or fail to make progress – toward a given end. Thus a completed and fulfilled life is an achievement and death is the point at which someone can be judged happy or unhappy. Hence the ancient Greek proverb: ‘Call no man happy until he is dead.’

“This conception of a whole human life as the primary subject of objective and impersonal evaluation, of a type of evaluation which provides the content for judgment upon the particular actions or projects of a given individual, is something that ceases to be generally available at some point in the progress – if we can call it such – towards and into modernity. It passes to some degree unnoticed, for it is celebrated historically for the most part not as a loss, but as a self-congratulatory gain, as the emergence of the individual freed on the one hand from the social bonds of those constraining hierarchies which the modern world rejected at its birth and on the other hand from what modernity has taken to be the superstitions of teleology.” (pp. 33-34)


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