. 6
( 7)


her own life (the so-called Choice conception of rights; see, for example,
Hart 1955, pp. 175“191), is supposed to ground the individual™s immunity
to certain sorts of treatment. But rights understood in this way, MacIntyre
thinks, are unintelligible. One has no natural interest in others™ receipt of
some bene¬t, or in their choices to live a certain way. Since whatever else a
natural right is supposed to be, it is supposed to provide reasons for others
to act in a certain way, natural rights do not make sense.
By contrast, the immunities dictated by the natural law do not have
an individualistic basis. The reason for recognizing these immunities is
that their recognition is essential for the carrying out of common projects.
The normative force of the immunities is borne by the common good, not
some individual™s private good. And insofar as the good that is common is
partially constitutive of the good of all of the individuals taking part in the

activity, all have reasons to adhere to the natural law and thus to preserve
these immunities. There is no signi¬cant shift in MacIntyre™s rejection of a
natural rights perspective in ethics and politics.


I want to close by considering two worries about the conception of politics
that MacIntyre offers. The ¬rst has to do with whether the modern state
is necessarily as dismal a creature as MacIntyre makes it out to be. The
second has to do with the coherence of the notion of politics as a practice
that MacIntyre offers.
As we have seen, MacIntyre™s verdict on the possibility of a political
justi¬cation of the modern state “ a justi¬cation that would enable the state
to back up its claims to authority with adequate reasons “ is entirely neg-
ative. But MacIntyre is always careful to temper his condemnation of any
acceptance of the state™s global pretensions with endorsement of ad hoc
acceptance of the state™s bene¬ts and sometime cooperation with the state™s
worthwhile activities. (This tempering is itself tempered with reminders of
the dangers to local community present in entangling itself too thoroughly
with the state.) Virtuous members of local communities “will recognize [the
state] as an ineliminable feature of the contemporary landscape and they
will not despise the resources that it affords. It may and on occasion does
provide the only means for removing obstacles to humane goals” (Dependent
Rational Animals, p. 133). MacIntyre™s remarks suggest the following view:
because the state is not going away, and because, given the existence of
the state, there is often no way to achieve certain ends that practitioners of
the politics of local community have reason to promote other than through
cooperation with the state, there will sometimes be occasions on which
practitioners of the politics of local community have reason to acquiesce
with or participate in the state™s initiatives. But this concession, sensible as it
is, raises questions about whether practitioners of the politics of local com-
munity, if there were no state, would ¬nd it necessary, or highly desirable,
to invent it. And if it is indeed the case that practitioners of the politics of
local community would ¬nd it necessary, or highly desirable, to invent some
set of institutions like the state in some relevant respects, this would raise
questions about whether the state is, as MacIntyre describes it, a deeply,
fundamentally ¬‚awed set of incoherent institutional structures, or whether
it is instead an admittedly imperfect realization of a fundamentally sound
political structure.
MacIntyre™s Political Philosophy

Here is an argument for the prima facie desirability, from the point
of view of a politics of local community, for a statelike set of institutions.
As MacIntyre notes, no practices can go unsupported by institutions, for
institutions are characteristically concerned with the provision of external
goods, and practices, while aiming at goods internal to them, cannot get by
without external goods (After Virtue, p. 194). The practice of politics will
be no different. In addition to those external goods necessary for carrying
on the goods of common deliberation central to that practice, the fact
that politics is about appropriately ordering all of the practices within a
community™s life will make politics a practice that is particularly demanding
in its need for external goods. For to order the practices in a community™s
life will be, in part, to see to it that those practices more central to the life
of the local community be better provided with respect to external goods,
and indeed that all practices that are deserving in some way be supported
in their pursuits. And so there will need to be institutions that are able
to provide external goods “ security, wealth, and so forth “ in light of the
decisions reached within political practice.
Now, there is, ceteris paribus, reason to pursue ef¬ciency with respect
to the provision of such goods. (I will return to ways in which the ceteris
may not be paribus below.) And so there would be very good reason for
several local communities to sustain in common a set of institutions that
could provide external goods to them all that would be much less ef¬ciently
provided by them individually. The premier example of an external good
likely to be provided more ef¬ciently in this way would be security from
external threats, and we may take this good as central to the defense of a
statelike institution, a quasi-state, from the point of view of a politics of local
If several local communities saw the point of putting into place a statelike
institution, it would have several key features. First, the quasi-state would
self-consciously have limited resources for communal deliberation, for, be-
ing an institution that straddles several communities of deliberation, it
would recognize that the possibilities of extended debate would be far more
limited than can be entertained within such communities. Second, it would
have to proceed from a relatively thin theory of the good, concerned only
with its limited mandate to provide a particular set of external goods for a
given set of local communities. And third, in demanding the support that
all institutions require in order to survive, it would have to make a dou-
ble appeal. It would have to appeal to the goods of the local communities
themselves that are best realized with the provision of external goods. But
communities as well as individuals can be freeriders, and so such institutions

would have to appeal to a conception of justice, articulated initially within
local communities but making demands that extend beyond their borders,
to account for the reason freeriding is intolerable.
There is a prima facie case from the point of view of the politics of local
community, then, for a quasi-state. Note some relevant similarities between
the quasi-state and the modern state that MacIntyre criticizes. It proceeds
on the basis of a thinner theory of the good than that endorsed by any of the
communities that it seeks to serve, aiming to provide goods that are useful to
each. It has limited aspirations with respect to public deliberation about the
goods that it serves. And it calls for allegiance on the basis of the importance
of the goods that it provides to the local communities that it serves and
on the basis of requirements of justice in distribution. Now, admittedly,
modern states often overstep their bounds, and go beyond the quasi-state.
Their claims to be the ¬nal objects of allegiance are overblown, and even
idolatrous. And they tend to make disastrous mistakes about the entities
that they serve: they tend to understand their service to be to individuals
simply as such, and to ignore the key points to which MacIntyre draws our
attention “ that individuals can only come to understand their good and to
articulate defensible conceptions of justice in local communities and within
traditions of inquiry. But it makes a great deal of difference with respect to
the success of MacIntyre™s criticism of the state whether it is best conceived
as a distorted, defective quasi-state or as an institution presupposing a set
of ¬rst principles entirely at odds with the politics of local community.
Now, MacIntyre could admit all of this while still denying that the state
is ultimately cast in any better light. For I admitted in my exposition of
the quasi-state that in it the opportunities for common deliberation are
limited. And this may well doom the quasi-state from MacIntyre™s point of
view. Any institution that lacks the possibility for meaningful self-correction
through deliberation should be rejected as simply too unwieldy and dan-
gerous. Quasi-states that overstep their bounds and make serious mistakes
with respect to their mission “ thus becoming too much like modern states “
are not suf¬ciently subject to correction. But this is, I think, where there
remains empirical work to be done. It needs to be asked what ways there are
for local communities to hold in check statelike institutions, and it needs
to be asked whether, for all of the potential for overreaching by statelike
institutions, local communities are not in fact more successful in their own
terms within the context of states than outside of that context. This is very
much in line with the sort of empirical inquiry into the conditions under
which local communities ¬‚ourish or languish that MacIntyre calls for in his
most recent work (Dependent Rational Animals, pp. 142“143).
MacIntyre™s Political Philosophy

The second line of criticism that I want to press against MacIntyre™s
view to my mind generates far more serious dif¬culties for his position.
Recall some of the salient features of practices as MacIntyre characterizes
them. What makes an organized activity a practice is, in part, that it is
an activity through which goods internal to that activity are realized (After
Virtue, p. 187). In labeling the goods of practices “internal” goods, he means
to emphasize a contrast between those goods that can be de¬ned only in
terms of the activity of a practice and those “ “external” goods, such as
money, power, status, etc. “ that can be de¬ned without reference to the
particularities of a practice. MacIntyre also takes it to be a de¬ning feature
of goods internal to practices that one who has not been initiated into and
educated within a practice is not competent as a judge of internal goods:
such a person cannot appreciate them adequately, cannot understand when
they have been achieved, and cannot discern greater or lesser achievement
with respect to the realization of those goods (After Virtue, pp. 188“189).
MacIntyre thus places some emphasis on the virtue of educability: “To
enter into a practice is to accept the authority of those standards and the
inadequacy of my own performance as judged by them. It is to subject
my own attitudes, choices, preferences, and tastes to the standards which
currently and partially de¬ne the practice” (After Virtue, p. 190). Initiation
into practices is transformative: while persons often and characteristically
enter practices for the sake of the external goods contingently associated
with those practices, to be initiated into them is to be made able to appreciate
adequately the goods internal to them (After Virtue, p. 188).
So far as I can tell, the notion that the goods internal to a practice
cannot be adequately known by outsiders, by those that have not been
initiated into that practice, is an ineliminable part of MacIntyre™s account
of practices. To deny it would be to deny the distinction between internal
and external goods, a distinction that is crucial in MacIntyre™s account of the
virtues. And so if it were to turn out that the thesis that “those who lack the
relevant experience are incompetent thereby as judges of internal goods”
(After Virtue, p. 189) makes trouble for MacIntyre™s conception of politics,
the trouble could not be eliminated by mild revisions in his position.
But the notion that goods internal to practices cannot be adequately
known by outsiders does make serious trouble for MacIntyre™s conception of
politics. For politics, as we have seen, is that practice concerned with proper
deliberation about, and communal action regarding, the ordering of the
practices and the goods internal to those practices within a community. But
rational communal deliberation about the place of the goods of the different
practices within the life of the community is bound to be a chimera. For

such deliberation would have to be founded on an adequate appreciation by
participants in that deliberation of the goods of the practices to be ordered,
and no political deliberator could have all of the knowledge required. No
one can enter suf¬ciently into the multifarious practices that make up the
life of a community to be able adequately to appreciate the goods internal
to each of those distinct practices. There are simply too many, and entering
into a practice requires too much time, for adequate appreciation of the
goods to be ordered in political deliberation to be a live possibility for
human beings.
Now, one might respond that this objection to MacIntyre™s conception
of politics underestimates the resources for political deliberation that are
provided by such deliberation being common. Political deliberation is not
private, but public. And so even if it is conceded that no individual deliber-
ator would be able to deliberate rationally in political matters on his or her
own, it is a commonplace about communal deliberation that the shortcom-
ings of individual deliberators is remedied by the strengths of their fellows.
What a single person does not know can be supplied by those that do. But
while it may often be true that individual de¬ciencies in knowledge can
be compensated for in communal deliberation, it does not seem to help
in this case. For the deliberation at issue concerns, essentially, comparative
knowledge “ knowledge of the relative importance of different goods, of
how some goods should or should not be subordinated to others. For one
person to have intimate knowledge of the goods of one practice and for
another to have intimate knowledge of the goods of another practice does
not help much at all in dealing with the question: how are the goods of
these two practices to be ordered in the life of our community? A participant
in one practice will not be able adequately to convey the importance of the
goods of his or her practice just through talking about it; MacIntyre notes
“the meagerness of our vocabulary for speaking of [internal] goods” (After
Virtue, p. 188) in emphasizing the point that knowledge of such goods is ac-
quired only through experience within the relevant practice. So it does not
seem that the knowledge of the goods needed to make rational judgments
in political matters can be supplied by one™s fellow political deliberators.
If this second line of criticism of MacIntyre™s political philosophy is suc-
cessful, then we can go even further than the claim, defended in the ¬rst
line of criticism, that perhaps MacIntyre is wrong to dismiss the potential
of some statelike system of institutions. I suggested in the ¬rst line of crit-
icism that a statelike system of institutions can be endorsed from within
MacIntyre™s politics of local community from a conjunction of three facts:
¬rst, that such communities practicing local politics would rationally want
MacIntyre™s Political Philosophy

an ef¬cient provision of external goods; second, that an ef¬cient provision
of external goods can be better brought about through an institution that
crosses the boundaries of local communities; and third, that deliberation
within such an institution would have to be far thinner than deliberation
within any local community. But what this second line of criticism sug-
gests is that if MacIntyre is committed to a conception of internal goods in
which knowledge of such goods is denied to all but insiders, then rational
deliberation that takes place within a politics of local community is going
to be far more austere than originally envisaged. The question, even within
local communities, cannot be: “Given the various practices that constitute
the life of the community, what relative importance should we ascribe to
each of these practices, so that those practices can be properly ordered in
our common life?” The question will instead be something like: “Given
our individual inabilities to know the goods of these practices in anything
like an adequate way, and given our collective inability to overcome these
individual de¬ciencies, how is it reasonable to respond to the various prac-
tices?” To retreat to this question is not to deny that there is a best way
to order the practices within political communities; it is only to deny that
knowledge of this best way is available to us, with our ineliminable human


1. For an account of the sources of allegiance considered in United States Supreme
Court opinions, see Hall and Klosko 1998; for an understanding of the courts as
the prime example of public reason, see Rawls 1993, pp. 231“240.
2. Including the practice of politics itself: one question that will have to be answered
will be about how the good of engaging in politics should be set against other
3. This is not to deny that for each political community there will be some best
way of ordering the goods in that community; that there is such a best way, or a
limited class of best ways, is what makes politics as MacIntyre understands it a
matter of seeking after truth.
4. The enabling character of the principles of the natural law is emphasized in
MacIntyre 1994a, p. 177.
5. For example, Finnis 1980, pp. 33“34. Even my own is, sadly, subject to some
version of this criticism; see Murphy 2001, pp. 36“40.
6. I owe thanks to Paul Weithman and Ben Lipscomb for helpful comments on
drafts of this chapter. I also owe thanks to Alasdair MacIntyre, who in reading
this chapter exhibited his usual just generosity in both receiving and offering
7 MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

The modern period is usually dated as beginning roughly in 1789, the year
not only of the French Revolution but also of the opening of the new federal
government in the United States and correspondingly the securing of that
country™s new nationally oriented commercial society. Within a short period
of time, “modernity” saw democratic revolutions, authoritarian revolutions,
and the explosive growth of industrial society. There are now many who
think that the modern period has run its course and is giving way to a new
form of “postmodern” civilization.
Modernity, with its factories and steam engines, its mass culture and its
creation of weapons of immense destruction, has long been the object of
both admiration and dislike. Its admirers tend to see it as marking progress
beyond what preceded it: human life has been lengthened in industrial
society, many of the great masses who were formerly excluded have be-
come empowered, wealth has increased, and freedom has become the great
watchword across the globe. (Even the capitalism-critical Marxists bought
into their own version of the idea of progress.) However, modernity has
also been the object of intense, emotional attack, and in the late eighteenth
and early nineteenth century in Germany, criticizing modernity became
a genre unto itself. Even before the onset of industrialization, people like
F. H. Jacobi were already expressing dismay in the emerging trust in reason
to solve all our problems and were criticizing all Enlightenment thought
as potentially “nihilistic” (a term Jacobi coined) “ enlightened reason, so
Jacobi™s claim went, could tear things down, but it could not satisfactorily
build anything up to replace it. Indeed, the forces of modernity simply de-
stroyed all that was good and beautiful and replaced it with an alienated,
potentially godless moral wasteland.
There are easily typi¬ed reactions to the distresses of modernity. One
is to want to accelerate Enlightenment thought to its completion: the only
cure for the ills in¬‚icted by the Enlightenment, so the saying goes, is more
Enlightenment. The other is to indulge in nostalgia, which in the nine-
teenth century was quite often coupled with an intense desire actually to

MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

turn the clock back, to restore a lost world; that desire in the twentieth
century has been more typically associated with a kind of cultural despair.
As a form of cultural despair, nostalgia takes the form of wishing that that
we had never lost the innocence that we formerly had, and while it im-
plicitly accepts the fact that the clock cannot be turned back, it still sees
the movement forward in history as nonetheless inevitable, although al-
together for the worse, and quite often is driven to the rather quietist
conclusion, as Heidegger so famously put it, that “only a god can save us
now” (a statement made some time after Heidegger had already suffered
the ignominy of his support of a self-appointed German demigod to do
the job).
Jacobi™s attack on “Enlightenment” “ by which he meant “modernity” “
was both a cultural and a philosophical attack. If the culture of modernity
was lacking, its predicament was traceable to the philosophical view in which
that culture was rooted, which, for Jacobi, was the culture and philosophy
based on universalizing reason. That “modern” outlook had brought forth
a world of alienated people unable to be at home in their world, whose lives
would therefore in some crucial sense be stunted or lacking in a kind of
depth that they had earlier possessed.
MacIntyre has also been a ¬erce critic of modernity, and one of the key
elements of his most famous book, After Virtue, is an attack on the fail-
ure of the “Enlightenment Project.” His celebrations of the philosophical
superiority of both Aristotle and, most recently, Thomas Aquinas, along
with his admiring descriptions of ancient Athens and Catholic medieval
Europe, along with his own closing of After Virtue with the lines about
waiting for a new Saint Benedict to save us from modernity™s barbarians
(After Virtue, p. 263), certainly make it natural to interpret MacIntyre as
some kind of slightly Romantic elegist for the past, a man confounded by
the moral laxness of the present, hoping that it all will somehow just go
away “ maybe even wishing that we would all turn our computers off and
go back to writing with quill pens on rag paper.
The charge of nostalgia quite naturally has been an underlying theme
in much of the criticism of MacIntyre™s work, but it is a serious misreading
of his key ideas. In MacIntyre™s writings one indeed ¬nds an admiration
of much of ancient Greece, but one also continuously ¬nds in that same
work more or less condemnatory judgments that it was based on slavery and
the oppression of women; Aristotle, while praised, is convicted of grievous
mistakes, among them his endorsement of the idea of natural slavery; and,
for MacIntyre, the inequalities of the medieval world clearly disqualify it
from serving as the perfect model of human development. On the other

hand, what makes Aristotle, Aquinas, ancient Athens, and the medievals
appealing is that they all involved a way of thinking about and living out
nonindividualist ways of life in which the “individual” was not taken to be
the ultimate, irreducible unit of political and social discourse, the “indi-
vidual” was not taken to have rights prior to his relationship to others,
and the status of institutions was not solely to provide “individuals” with
the means for ef¬ciently realizing their desires or for “actualizing” their
To understand MacIntyre™s dissatisfaction with modernity, one therefore
has to look in places other than the Romantic nostalgia for a nonexistent,
uni¬ed and harmonious past in order to ¬nd the other sources of his distaste
for modernity, in particular the rather politically conservative Max Weber
and the non-Marxist socialist Karl Polanyi.
Polanyi™s in¬‚uence on MacIntyre is quite straightforward (see Polanyi
1975). In the 1940s and 1950s, Polanyi challenged the conventional wisdom
that economics was a value-free science that only described and explained
what all rational persons would, under very rare¬ed conditions, freely elect
to do. Instead, he argued that modern economics only formalizes a con-
tingent, modern sense of the cash economy and modern capitalism; for
Polanyi, not only are alternative arrangements of the economy possible,
but it is the case that many past and present societies have in fact presented
us with such alternatives. In saying this, Polanyi was by no means inspired
by nostalgia for the past; he simply wanted to undermine the notion that
the modern economy and its attendant conceptions of rationality, exchange,
and ef¬ciency were natural and inevitable. Premodern economies, for ex-
ample, did not presuppose such notions but were instead based on notions
of reciprocity: each person in such an order produced or performed the task
at which they were best, and the whole was then redistributed among the
society at large. The fundamental glue holding such premodern economies
together was not the desire to further one™s own (narrow or broad) interests
but to establish one™s standing in society by performing well and virtuously
those tasks that society required and expected of oneself. Such premod-
ern economies thus rested on a shared but rarely explicit sense of what
the “whole” required of them, and on a shared but rarely explicit under-
standing of what the whole owed to them. For Polanyi the individual was
neither submerged nor crushed by the social wholes; both the individual
and the social whole had their place, and each received its due in such an
Market economies, on the other hand, abolish that shared understand-
ing. Markets operate only on price, not on orientation to the social whole.
MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

Unfettered from social roles, the individual produces and acts not in terms
of how he is contributing to the social whole, nor in terms of the impact
of his actions on the social whole at large, but only in terms of whether his
behavior can “clear” the market (whether the price for his labor or goods is
too high). However, all economic relationships, Polanyi argued, ultimately
have their basis in a certain feature of human sociality, namely in our need
to appear to others in certain ways, to gain standing in their eyes. In market
societies, this ultimately takes place through the acquisition of status items
and simply of more money itself. In saying this, though, Polanyi never
held that capitalism was only a way station to full socialism, nor did he
endorse the Marxist view that individualism was only an ideology by which
the bourgeoisie maintained its control over the means of production. He
only wanted to argue that modern economics is not written into the nature
of rationality or into the metaphysical structure of human agency. There
are and have been alternatives, and understanding the sheer contingency
of modern economic life can free us up to think about what our modern
alternatives to capitalism might be.
Weber™s well known critique of the rise of modernity also has an obvious
in¬‚uence on MacIntyre™s thought. In Weber™s telling of the story, the rise of
capitalism represents the triumph of the “spirit of Protestantism,” a kind of
shorthand for political and moral individualism. Once such individualism is
accepted, then social and political theory have to begin with the question of
what rights or moral claims these individuals have prior to their being con-
ceived in terms of their social relations; against such a backdrop, the only
plausible scenario is some type of social contract among such individuals,
and the reasoning that establishes the contract is ultimately instrumental
reasoning. Following up on Polanyi™s point about the historical embed-
dedness of economic relations, MacIntyre takes over Weber™s point that
prior to the rise of capitalism “ of individualism, modernity “ instrumental
rationality was given its due share in the social order by a larger view
of the whole that kept it in check, and that larger view was itself sus-
tained by the social authority of religion. As the new form of economic,
capitalist activity took over in Northern Europe, individualist models of
social life quickly eroded the social bases of authority that religion has
formerly claimed for itself. Religion gradually became socially powerless
and was relegated to the realm of private belief and private inspiration.
Where religion had been, individualist modes of reasoning and social or-
ganization stepped in, and in place of a conception of society as structured
around common goods, the basis of legitimacy came to be the ef¬ciency
with which the rulers or the basic structure of society provided economic

goods (and maintained the liberal political goods that were a condition
of achieving the economic goods). Instead of the good and publicly ful-
¬lling life, modernity substituted a promise only of increasing wealth and
private satisfaction (provided one has the requisite skills to prosper in the
It is not hard to see how elements of both Polanyi™s and Weber™s story
coalesce in MacIntyre™s own account. In both Polanyi™s and Weber™s nar-
rations, modern individualism replaces something older and breaks apart
what had been a uni¬ed, more or less harmonious social whole; how-
ever, in neither Weber™s nor Polanyi™s narration is that social whole ro-
manticized, and in both cases, there is an appeal to an underlying human
nature that explains why such a system came to replace what had pre-
ceded it. It is this more hard-edged (and itself much more modern),
nonnostalgic sense of modernity that is behind Polanyi™s, Weber™s, and
MacIntyre™s criticism of the modern transformation. The great Romantic
notion of an original, harmonious unity that has shattered into fragments
and whose memory remains as a project for the future reconstitution of
the original harmony is for the most part absent from MacIntyre™s writ-
ings (although faint traces of it admittedly appear from time to time in
What seems to provoke MacIntyre™s ire is the unspoken assumption
that the point at which we have ended up “ in the triumph of global cap-
italism and the widespread af¬rmation of the market as the only proper
social institution to deal with our problems “ is necessary (that we had to
end up in this place in history), is the only proper or authentic expression
of unalloyed human nature (that it is the only social system that ¬ts hu-
man nature instead of being at war with it), or represents progress over the
past. Like the progressive modernists who so much displease him, MacIn-
tyre sees modernity as not simply a historical periodization or a “style” (to
be found, for example, in art) but as an unprecedented rupture in human
time, something that marks a new and fundamentally different beginning
and presents fundamentally new options for human life. To see the present,
however, as progress is essentially to endorse it as something against which
it would only be irrational to complain since it represents an essential im-
provement on what came before it, and any attempt to undo it (especially
in the name of any of the older goods and values that it claims to have
superseded) could, if successful, only count as a loss. Indeed, MacIntyre™s
sustained attack on the notion that “the present is progress” has fueled that
idea that he must be some kind of nostalgic premodern thinker, a kind of
Irish-Scottish Heidegger, wishing, as it has been unkindly said, for all of us
MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

to return to some vanished Catholic world in which the cacophony of the
modern condition is absent.
Any reasonably close reading of his work, however, belies such an in-
terpretation. MacIntyre clearly endorses all kinds of very “modern” social
movements (the women™s movement, claims for minority rights, and so
forth) that under no stretch of the imagination could be imagined to be
the kinds of things that a return to some premodern condition would un-
derwrite, and one does not ¬nd any hint that MacIntyre would like to turn
back the clock on those developments. MacIntyre does not so much call
for a return to the past as for a rethinking of what is actually required of a
modern conception that could endorse the “progressive” social movements
that have led to recognition of minority and women™s rights while at the
same time dispensing with the underlying conceptions that have seemed to
be necessary to justify those rights.
MacIntyre™s major criticism of modernity has to do with its underlying
individualism, the practical failures of that form of individualism, and the
social structures and modern philosophies that systematically distort our
abilities to comprehend any real alternative to themselves. In After Virtue,
he introduced this notion with his now-famous analogy of the loss of sci-
ence: just as we can imagine a world in which various people try (fruitlessly)
to revive vanished scienti¬c practice (not understanding that what they were
doing was completely different from the way science was actually done), we
should understand our own modern world as having lost the practices of
the virtues, such that modern attempts to speak of the virtues can only be
falsi¬cations, pale and failed attempts at doing something in a new context
that only had its home in another, older, vanished context. This analogy
seems to suggest that if retrieving the virtues was important, the only way
to do that would be to turn back the clock. However, MacIntyre™s proposal
has never been for us even to attempt to move back to a premodern, nonin-
dividualist society; he has instead suggested what alternative process would
be necessary for a new, nonindividualist society of the future to take shape.
If anything, MacIntyre™s critique of modernity is better characterized as
revolutionary than as reactionary. For MacIntyre, the rupture in human
time that modernity represents is therefore to be understood as some kind
of error that, while marking out fundamentally new possibilities for in-
dividual and collective life, unfortunately also diminishes human life and
must itself be “overcome” in the way it overcame the premodern world it
“Individualism” in MacIntyre™s sense has at least three aspects to it: (1) It
holds that all the resources needed to generate correct moral judgments and

to act on them exist within the individual; (2) It holds that any shared moral-
ity can therefore only come about in the form of some kind of basic agree-
ment about choices, attitudes, and/or preferences; (3) It holds that social
institutions can therefore only be understood as means through which in-
dividuals give expression to their preferences and aims, and through which
they achieve their ends. (For a short statement of this view, see MacIntyre
1990b). What is wrong about such individualism, so MacIntyre seems to
think, is not so much that it denies a metaphysical fact about human agents,
but rather that it represents a kind of practical failure on their part. That is,
he does not deny that we can be or become individualists in the relevantly
misguided sense, nor does he claim that, for example, we must always tran-
scendentally presuppose some kind of nonindividualism when conceiving
of ourselves as individualist agents of the type he scorns. His argument is
not analogous, for example, to Kant™s argument that when deliberating and
acting we simply cannot regard ourselves from the practical point of view as
determined in our choices, and thus all determinism founders on a practical
(even if not theoretical) impossibility.
Fundamental to MacIntyre™s view is that one™s status as an agent is bound
up with one™s capacities for practical reasoning, and those capacities can-
not be understood outside of the social and biological contexts in which
they are realized. To have a reason for action is something humans share
with certain higher animals (dolphins are MacIntyre™s examples of choice),
since having a reason for action has to do with the goods to be obtained
by those actions. A human or a dolphin can be said to have certain goods
(given their natures, both biological and social), and one must understand
much of their behavior as an aiming at those goods (at least in terms of
the way the world appears to them “ dolphins, like humans, can be mis-
taken about that world). Some higher animals aim at their good, and, so
MacIntyre controversially also argues, can be said both to engage in social
practices and to alter their behavior accordingly. To the extent that those
conditions are met, such higher animals should, along with humans, be
said to have reasons for actions (and, so MacIntyre also argues, although
there is no need to elaborate here, thereby also to possess conceptual ca-
pacities) (Dependent Rational Animals, pp. 43“51). Whereas both humans
and the higher animals may thus be said to have reasons for action, only
humans have, however, the power of reasoning, since that requires the
kind of sophisticated linguistic, and therefore social, capacities that appar-
ently only humans possess. It also follows, so he thinks, that our capacities
for reasoning should not be opposed to our animal natures but should
be viewed as the realizations of certain natural powers within us, powers
MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

that have a less fully actualized form in higher animals and in ourselves as
If agency is to be understood as a capacity both to have reasons and to
reason in light of them, the most obvious question to ask is Kantian in spirit “
“are there logical conditions under which any agent at all must reason, or
are there conditions that set the boundaries or determine what counts as an
instance of successful practical reasoning?” “ and the usual answer has to do
with something like impartiality or universality of reasoning. MacIntyre,
however, not only denies that this is the proper question, he also thinks
that it is a seriously misleading “modernist” answer. Having a reason is
only intelligible in terms of there being some goods for an organism in
terms of which it adapts its behavior. Reasoning, on the other hand, refers to
the way in which humans (social creatures possessing language) go about
moving from having reasons to regulating their behavior to altering their
conceptions of what it even means to have a reason in the ¬rst place. To the
extent that we think about having a reason and reasoning in any substantive
way, our notions of both of them are bound up with whatever substantive
goods we take to be the objects of those reasons. Thus, what counts for
an agent will never be best understood abstractly as “the” good at which
he or she is aiming; it will always be a speci¬c conception of a good, which
in turn will affect what will count as the appropriate reasoning about it,
and it is only out of these more speci¬c acts of reasoning about goods
that we ¬nally generate some more general notion of the “human good”
per se.1
This is crucial for MacIntyre since he holds that when we change our
determinate conceptions of the goods at issue, we also thereby change our
determinate conceptions of what it means for each of us, individually and
collectively, to be the kinds of historically speci¬c agents that we are. Some-
one for whom “the good” is simply the satisfaction of one™s desires will take
the appropriate model of reasoning to be more or less instrumental and will
have a very determinate conception of the kind of agent one is, what place
one has in society, what kinds of things are rationally appropriate for one
to suffer or endure, and so forth. Alternatively, someone who conceives of
“the good” as the successful execution of a social role and as establishing
one™s standing in the eyes of the appropriate others will not take such instru-
mental reasoning as the appropriate model but will more likely have a more
complex model of reasoning as deliberation about what will appropriately
achieve the good and the best in such and such a type of situation in which
one ¬nds oneself. This agent will have, no doubt, a different conception
of what is worth enduring, what is worth suffering, and for what one can

reasonably hope than the former agent. (In fact, in the latter case, an agent
engaging in such instrumental reasoning, seeking the most ef¬cient means
to look good, will be judged to have failed in the attempt at establishing
individual standing.)
In MacIntyre™s view, therefore, moral reality itself changes as concep-
tions of the good themselves change “ there is neither one moral reality out
there waiting for us to respond to it, nor a substantive constraint bound up
with the formal conditions of constructing such a reality (as there might
be for a Kantian). Rather, there are different moral realities relative to
the different conceptions of the good at work in different substantive con-
ceptions of practical reasoning. The issue therefore is not: “What is the
one true moral reality (against which all the competitors are merely illu-
sions or perversions) that has to be presupposed in all moral judgments?”
but rather: “What is the moral reality that proves to be the best in some
non-question-begging way in its encounters with alternative moral reali-
ties?” Leaving open the possibility that that there is a “best” moral reality
that can emerge out of competing moral traditions leaves MacIntyre open
also to endorse a historicized form of moral realism (a topic to which we
shall return).
The answer for MacIntyre is to be found in a combination of a moral
reality™s coherence within itself and the way in which it promotes (or fails
to promote) some kind of human ¬‚ourishing. In particular, modern moral
reality (the conception of goods at work in it and the appropriate structure
of practical reasoning that accompanies it) has within itself, on MacIntyre™s
account, a deep incoherence that makes it actually damaging to the agents
who live within it.
But why is such incoherence, if it really is there, so damaging? What
is so bad about living with such incoherence? (Is fear of contradiction the
hobgoblin of small minds?) For MacIntyre, what is at stake is not just any
old set of contradictions (such as might be found in the “paradox of the
preface” and similar conundrums) but an incoherence, if not contradiction,
in the structure of agents™ practical reasoning such that they ¬nd themselves
pursuing certain types of goods in ways that undermine their ability ever to
achieve those goods fully or to achieve them at all. The kind of incoherence
at stake has to do with the basic premises of practical reasoning, and that
incoherence fundamentally alienates agents from themselves, from nature,
and from each other. (There is no doubt a not accidental resemblance to
the young Marx™s theory in play here.)
A form of practical reasoning undermines itself when the conditions for
its success make it impossible for it to fully succeed. To see this is to go
MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

to the heart of MacIntyre™s social-practice theory of rationality and to why
he thinks that such incoherence is a feature of modernity and not just an
individual failure to hold fast to the right norms. If one contrasts this with
a kind of simple Kantian conception of holding oneself to norms, one can
see MacIntyre™s point. (I will call this a simple form of Kantianism in order
to sidestep all the intricate textual and philosophical issues about whether
this “really is” Kant, or whether, even if it is, there is a better reading of
Kant that avoids these errors.) For the simple Kantian, the source of such
incoherence could only lie in the agents themselves: One who imposes
the rules for behavior on oneself can alone can be responsible for such
incoherence and can remove it; for the simple Kantian, such incoherence
from the social point of view at best reveals something about lacks in the
structure of coordination among independent agents, or perhaps problems
about freeriders and the like, and at worst simply points to some deep fact
such as “radical evil” at work in human nature (the propensity to substitute
self-interest for the moral law).
In MacIntyre™s social-practice conception of rationality, however, there
can be no such thing as the simple Kantian™s self-imposition of the law.
MacIntyre does not of course deny that there can be individual failure to
live up to the demands of morality; he claims only that certain types of
failure are not best construed as individual failings but as social breakdowns
elicited by deep contradictions within that way of life. Reasoning is always
carried out in terms of shared, socially established standards and in light of
what he calls a “tradition” (a more or less technical term for him, mean-
ing an inquiry directed toward a truth independent of the inquiring mind,
whose normative standards are developed over time in light of the problems,
anomalies, and clashes with other such traditions that appear in its history).
MacIntyre™s point about the social nature of rationality follow some famil-
iar post-Hegelian, post-Wittgensteinian lines of thought: No sense can be
given to the notion of a private language (of words whose meanings consist
in links to private mental states known only to their possessor) or of a kind
of rule following that is carried out entirely by one™s own individual private
apprehensions of what the rule requires since, in both cases, the distinction
between really following the rule and only thinking that one was following
the rule would be obliterated and with that, all notion of rule following and
intelligible action itself would vanish. Instead, any adequate conception of
(particularly practical) reasoning will have to be substantive and not merely
formal in character.
Practical reasoning is inherently substantive since it cannot even be
identi¬ed without reference to the goods it seeks to realize. The very

notion of having a reason for action is completely dependent on the no-
tion of there being a good that is to be realized or obtained in the action
(Dependent Rational Animals, p. 24). Having a reason is thus tied up with
the notion of being an organism (at least of a certain type) that aims at its
own good as it registers it, engages in social practices, and alters its behav-
ior in light of those practices. With humans, there are clearly goods that
can only be realized in an appropriate social setting “ for example, that of
a satisfying career “ and the modes of practical reasoning must take into
account what is necessary for the realization of those goods, particularly
what kinds of suppression or reeducation of desire are necessary if such
goods are to be achieved. It involves MacIntyre™s well-known view that a
certain type of character, a possession of a certain set of virtues, is neces-
sary for the realization of these goods. For MacIntyre, there cannot be any
simple Kantian priority of practical reason (or a purely formal conception
of practical reason) from which substantive goods are then inferred (as in
fact it looks like Kant himself is doing in the Metaphysics of Morals, where he
deduces the two obligatory ends of benevolence and self-perfection from
the unconditionally binding practical law).
If certain types of goods are only possible in some forms of social rela-
tionships and not in others, then it makes all the difference as to what those
relationships might be. In that connection, it is worth noting how, in all
of MacIntyre™s writings, the themes of dependence and independence are
always present and always coupled, although they sometimes function only
in the background. A key element of all of his writings has to do with the
necessity of the formation and sustenance of the virtues, which requires us
to acknowledge our dependence on others and on certain types of social
practices and institutions to make acquisition and sustenance of the virtues
possible. These types of dependency can take different forms, but they are
not ultimately malleable, and it seems that some forms of social life can
clearly distort the ways in which those dependencies are recognized and
responded to “ distort them in the sense that they make us blind in our
practical reasoning to these dependencies or to their ineluctability.
The two lenses through which MacIntyre views these problems “ a lan-
guage of realism, of a distortion of the true way in which we should view
moral reality, and a language of constructivism, as a failure to construct the
rules and principles by which we live in a rational manner “ points to a
fundamental element, if not tension, in his thought, which links him with
Kant and the other German idealists in ways he himself often downplays.
His realism (moral and otherwise) is quite apparent in all his writings and is
distinctly emphasized in Whose Justice? Which Rationality?, where he rejects
MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

all notions of truth as “warranted assertability” in favor of a more realist,
Thomistic (in a reinterpreted sense) concept of truth.2 However, as even
the title of Whose Justice? Which Rationality? already indicates, he also sub-
scribes to some kind of historicist view of moral reality in light of which
moral reality itself changes over time. What distinguishes MacIntyre™s views
from what looks like the relativism implicit in such historicism is his notion
of rationality, that only those moral realities that can be rationally defended
are suitable and are livable. He thinks, that is, that only in a rationally de-
fensible moral reality can we actually be the kinds of agents who ¬‚ourish in
the proper ways, and that, ultimately, irrational modes of social and moral
reality in¬‚ict so many psychological wounds on their members that they
can only be sustained both by the construction of elaborate ideologies that
justify the suffering imposed as historically or socially necessary and by
sustaining practices and institutions that, although inimical to the reign-
ing social practice, are necessary for its sustenance (as soothing the wounds
that are otherwise in¬‚icted or preventing the entire social order from under-
mining itself by the force of its irrationality and unlivability) (see MacIntyre
1990b). To do the latter “ keep alive the matters that the practice under-
mines but without which the practice could not survive “ the ideologies
in turn have to function so as to distort or even conceal what is actually
going on.
MacIntyre™s notion of “moral error” as brought on by insuf¬cient social
practice thus puts him disturbingly close to his bˆ te noire, Kantianism. The
Kantian position, quite generally, is that “goodness” or “value” is not found
in the world but is instead legislated or constructed by human agents, and
the condition under which all such legislation must fall is that of rational
justi¬ability. Objective principles of morality “ and thus a robust doctrine of
moral error “ are possible because and only because of this constraint. What
separates MacIntyre from Kant is MacIntyre™s semi-Hegelian rejection of
the more speci¬cally Kantian notion of rational justi¬ability in favor of the
priority of a more substantive notion of reason: It is only in light of our
conception of speci¬c types of goods that we form notions of having reasons
and reasoning correctly, and those conceptions of goods themselves have a
history and are not simply “seen” by us or follow directly from some very
general conception of formal reasoning.
Because of this, MacIntyre is led to construct his notion of “tradi-
tion” and of “tradition-constituted inquiry” to highlight just why he thinks
Kantianism is not the position toward which he is pushed. That is, if moral
error is to be accounted for in terms of a failure to justify one™s actions, then
we need a conception of reason and rational justi¬ability that is capable of

showing that some types of practical judgments are true (or are in error),
but which does not claim that there is only one possible perspective on such
justi¬cation. That requires a historicized conception of rational justi¬ca-
tion, which, in MacIntyre™s rendering, has to do with the way in which one
tradition of inquiry can resolve anomalies found in another that the other
could not in its own terms resolve.3 That is, it has to be the case that inad-
equate moral realities eventually can be shown to be insuf¬cient in light of
the irrationality of the way that such moral realities make goods available
and present for their participants (and the substantive modes of practical
reasoning that attach to such goods) in comparison to some other way of
life (and, consequently, way of reasoning). It need not be the case that in-
adequate and wounding ways of living undermine themselves and thus come
to require something different from themselves (although in principle they
may be so intolerable as to collapse under their own weight); rather, when
confronted with an alternative “tradition” or way of life that explains to
them why their agents in¬‚ict such psychological wounds on themselves and
are blind to other kinds of goods, they ¬nd ultimately that the alternative
being presented is superior to the way in which they had been living to that
For MacIntyre as much as for the Kantians, an agent is motivated by
what he takes to be good reasons for action. The “motivational force” of the
existing moral reality has to do with the kinds of reasons that are available to
the agents within that set of social relationships and practices. Since modern
social relationships are structured around individualist self-understandings,
modern people, so MacIntyre™s story goes, ¬nd that the major motivating
reasons for them are either matters of bargaining for rational self-interest
or matters having to do with emotional sympathies or antipathies. Yet none
of these modes of reasoning (none of the powerful modern sources of mo-
tivation) can dispense with nonmodern reasons for action having to do
with acknowledged and unacknowledged dependencies; the way of life in
which social relationships are based either on bargaining or sympathies is
itself unsustainable unless there are relationships holding the whole to-
gether, relationships which themselves are neither matters open to bar-
gaining nor matters reducible to blind sentiments.
Yet in all this, MacIntyre™s retains his acceptance of the idea that moder-
nity represents something qualitatively different, a crucial rupture in human
history, and it is thus crucial for him to show that modern liberal individu-
alism is not necessary, that it is at best only one tradition among many, and
thus can itself be defeated by a demonstration of its inherent irrationality
and of the existence of a live alternative that is free from those irrationalities.
MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

MacIntyre thus has as his target something like Hegel™s conception of the
“rationality of the actual,” namely by showing that the motivational force of
the “actual,” of the existing moral reality, is fundamentally irrational, that
there is no way in principle to reorder it so that it is rational, and that the
traditions that it claims to have already defeated are in fact still alive.
The notion of defeated traditions is crucial for MacIntyre to make his
claim, since he clearly does not claim that all of modernity is to be dis-
carded. (He does not, as for example Heidegger sometimes seems to do,
throw modern science into the same wicker as modern capitalism, and he
clearly has no sympathy to those who bemoan the rise of civil rights for
minorities and oppressed peoples; nor does he see all of modern culture
as an expression of some kind of vague “technocracy,” however much he
derides the dominance of instrumental reasoning in the culture at large.)
Pre-Galilean and pre-Newtonian science, for example, is clearly a defeated
tradition. By virtue of having been decisively defeated by the force of better
reason, it is no longer on the cultural agenda, and any attempts to revive such
science are doomed. Likewise, MacIntyre would hold that all the various
forms of premodern and early-modern slavery are equally off the political
and cultural agenda. Even if clever scholarship can ¬nd ways to reinter-
pret Aristotle™s thoughts on slavery so as to make some sense of them in a
modern context, still there can be no sense in trying to revive slavery
per se.
Yet at least two major problems remain if MacIntyre is willing to accept
that what he views as “defeated traditions” are really defeated: ¬rst, there is
the problem of whether the notion of a “tradition” (which is further speci¬ed
as a “tradition of inquiry”) is itself adequate and not too intellectualistic to
provide an account of the kinds of existential breakdowns of ways of life
consistent with the rest of his thought; and second, there is the question of
whether he is committed to the possibility of “defeating” modernity in a way
that is itself undercut by his own arguments. The second of these is the more
crucial consideration. On the one hand, MacIntyre sees modern culture as
the outcome of a series of social and economic forces that have resulted in
a mode of practical reasoning that itself produces a de¬cient moral reality
for the participants of modern moral life “ de¬cient in the sense of being
irrational, an irrationality that leaves in its wake profound alienation and
wounded psyches. On the other hand, he wants to see the development
of modernity as a completely contingent, even irrational series of events,
whose justi¬cation was lacking at the time and whose adequate justi¬cation
has not since appeared. On MacIntyre™s account, that modern tradition “
with its attendant individualism “ has been defeated in the sense that all the

arguments in its favor can be and have been shown to be de¬cient, although
it is clear that, in any cultural or political sense, it not only has not been
defeated, it is apparently even stronger than ever.
However, there are powerful arguments in MacIntyre™s own work for
concluding that the kind of fragmented modernity he decries simply can-
not be defeated in the way that much of his work suggests it can. The very
things he accepts “ the rise of modern science, the rejection on grounds of
justice of the exclusion of oppressed peoples from power “ are the kinds of
matters that underwrite the impossibility of forging the kind of authoritative
consensus he often seems to advocate. MacIntyre wants to see social rela-
tionships as contingent and our own standards of reasoning as contingent;
yet he also wants to understand the moral reality brought about by those
relationships as necessitating some attempt at justi¬cation of them. In that
context, the problem of the existence of a “natural” standard of practical rea-
soning “ taking “natural” here in its eighteenth-century sense as embodying
those standards that are “¬xed” in contrast with the variable standards of
“positive” law “ appears just as acute for MacIntyre, who eschews appeal
to pre-Galilean conceptions of nature, as it is for the Kantians who accept
the same thing. It may well be that our rational capacities should be seen
as the realization of natural powers and not as something so far different
from them that they belong to a different order of being (or have to be
seen as manifestations of a wholly different type of substance). But it still
is not the case that nature sets the normative standards of practical reasoning
or that practical reasoning is only a perfection of some latency already there
in nature. (Some such argument may be implicit in the Naturphilosophie of
metaphysical idealists such as Schelling, but that is another story.) Practical
reasoning arises against the background of natural life, but its norms are
not determined by that background; it is social, and therefore, in Hegel™s
sense, a “negation” of nature, a departure from the regularities of nature,
such that it becomes in human life a “second” nature.4
Nor can MacIntyre accept the quasi-organic notion that competing
conceptions of rationality simply “¬t” their times, grow with them, and
live and die with them. For him, it is crucial not to understand reasons
as simply having a hold on people and “¬tting” them like some evolving
parasitic organism; rather, it is crucial to understand the justi¬ability of the
hold that they have, the way in which agents™ basic orientation is something
that makes up what they are, and in his work the claim is always right under
the surface that failure of rationality, failure to collectively hold ourselves
to certain norms, is what undermines ways of life. If so, then the speci¬cally
modern issue of self-determination “ the issue ¬rst explicitly raised by Kant,
MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

even if pre¬gured mightily in Rousseau “ and the conditions under which
such collective and individual self-determination is possible, are as much
problems for MacIntyre as they are for Kant and all the post-Kantians.
Appealing to natural goods will not help matters here, even if clari¬cation
of the centrality of our natural dependencies and our continuity with the
animal world (in contrast both to classical dualism and contemporary single-
minded naturalism) is brought front and center, as MacIntyre himself so
effectively does. The Reformation did not happen because people failed
to reason through things correctly; the emerging sense of the individual,
already making its ¬rst ¬‚edgling appearances in Giotto™s frescoes with their
more realistic and individually realized faces, were already pointing to the
way in which the hold of the medieval church “ that is, its capacity to
provide the binding reasons for collective life “ was under pressure from
the very forces that Christian culture had set in motion. The very things
that MacIntyre decries “ the excessive individualism of modern life and the
way in which its social institutions and market society shape a moral reality
centered around the satisfaction of sovereign individual desire “ themselves
could not take place until a Christian conception of equality before God had
come to be realized as the only alternative to the collapse of the slave-owning
societies of antiquity. The basic norm behind the moral reality in which
rational choice theory (with its attendant freerider and prisoner™s dilemma
problems) really is one of the going options is one in which the individual
agent can ¬nd no reason to subordinate his desires to some authority other
than his own self-interest, and that presupposes the breakdown of the kind
of hierarchical set of social relationships to which people had formerly had
so much allegiance. Indeed, the Christian appeal to the equality of all before
God is both an expression of and a response to the collapse of the binding
power of natural mastery, of the existence of some in the world to whom
others must simply submit their will because nature has decreed some to
be better than others. That Christian critique of the ancient world not
only made it possible for individuals to see themselves as being intrinsically
neither master nor slave, but actually came to require it. Unless there is
some way of resurrecting Christianity as the binding force in modern life
(and thereby denying the pluralism that MacIntyre otherwise so eloquently
defends), the dilemmas of rational choice theory are deeply written into
modern moral reality. (It is worth noting, though, that although MacIntyre
defends pluralism, he never endorses liberalism as the best account of that
modern form of pluralism.5 )
Indeed, if there are no natural masters and no natural slaves, then the
Kantian way of framing the issue becomes all the more compelling: Failing

an appeal to nature, we can only appeal to our own reason as that to which
we must subordinate our wills, but failing a metaphysical conception of
reason, we must understand rationality as expressing our own spontaneity,
as being an activity that in its normative dimension is underdetermined (if
not fully undetermined) by nature. In that respect, both Kant and MacIntyre
begin from the same point. Kant™s critique of all traditional, supersensible
metaphysics was supposed to put aside once and for all any appeal to natural
goods via a conception of some kind of perfection of human nature (and, so
it seems, MacIntyre himself seems implicitly to accept the basic premises
of the Kantian critique of traditional metaphysics).
What sets MacIntyre apart from Kant is his insistence that such practical
reasoning cannot begin in a vacuum but must instead begin with norms
that, viewed from the standpoint of embodied reasoning agents, are not
matters of legislation at all but instead furnish the substantive conditions of
all further self-legislation. In that respect, MacIntyre is as far as he could be
from Kant and his followers who insist on a fundamental independence for
practical reason, an ability to step outside of all traditions and to evaluate
them from a standpoint not indebted to any tradition at all. For practical
reason to function as a reason and not as something that simply “¬ts” into
the working of the organism, it must incorporate a set of commitments that
themselves depend on a collectively shared form of life. Such a background,
prere¬‚ective shared form of life is necessary to orient people; in living out
one™s life, one is oriented to taken-for-granted notions of the goods of that
form of life “ what we have called the “moral reality” of that form of life “
that in turn structure one™s practical reasoning as a kind of skill, a know-how
in making one™s way around in that life. There is and can be, however, no
sense to the notion of any basic good or presupposition in a form of life
being immune to criticism, and even though many things must be taken for
granted in any way of life, we always simply “¬nd” ourselves in a historical
community for whom some things simply “are”, at least from our point of
view on them, goods.
To make that same point, Hegel cited Antigone™s line about ethical
norms “ “Not now, nor yesterday™s, they always live/and no one knows
from whence they came”6 “ as expressing the experience of those basic
authoritative norms as matters to which we must simply keep faith, that
are not optional for us. Hegel goes on in that passage to elaborate what
that experientially means: “They are. If they are supposed to be legitimated
through my insight, then I have already set their unwavering being-in-itself
in motion and regard them as something that, for me, perhaps might be
true and perhaps might not be true.” That is, they have to be binding on us
MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

even if ultimately they are not themselves immune to historical breakdown.
We must adopt a stance of moral realism about those norms even as we
insist on their relativity to what historically counts as a reason for us, and
on their consequent revisability.
MacIntyre, like Hegel, rejects a conception of this kind of moral realism
as being only an “as-if” realism, something that, while it must “appear” to
us as “not now, nor yesterday™s, they always live,” is in fact only a contingent
creation by human beings pursuing other contingent ends. Both MacIntyre
and Hegel follow Kant™s lead in rejecting the idea that being a moral real-
ist in this sense either requires reducing moral norms to something more
respectable to contemporary naturalists or requires positing Platonic ide-
alities to which our statements about them correspond. To be a realist in
this sense is only to claim that we can show that there are good reasons
for doing one thing as opposed to another, and that requires us to work
out the conception of what counts as a good reason. If we can show that
there is a genuinely good reason to do something, that is enough to claim a
realism about those goods. However, like Hegel, MacIntyre also is deeply
suspicious that there is a single conception of reason that spans all historical
periods and all civilizations that is substantive enough to do all the work of
showing us what counts as a “good” reason. Practical reasons are dependent
on our conceptions of substantive goods, and no generalized notion of rea-
son detached from all social and historical context will be weighty enough
to do the heavy lifting that so many modern philosophers have required
of it.
There is also no sense in MacIntyre, as there is in many other critics of
modernity and antimodernists, that there is simply some kind of irresolv-
able, tragic con¬‚ict in human nature (between, for example, the passions
and intellect, or between attempts to hold fast to rules while not being
able to abide by them) that blocks any rational answer to social problems.
MacIntyre, like Hegel, seems at least to hold out for the possibility for
a reconciliation “ a Vers¨ hnung in Hegel™s rather charged theological im-
agery “ among citizens of the modern world that is based on reason and
not on something else such as tradition or revelation. Although this might
seem to be at odds with MacIntyre™s well-known appeal to the “authority
of tradition” in After Virtue, nonetheless even there the “authority of tradi-
tion” is invoked in order to provide underpinnings for the social-practice
account of rationality that is central to the account of the virtues in that
work. If we are to avoid the dif¬culties (both conceptual and practical) in
a conception of reason that has to claim that it starts from nowhere (as if
we always had to deliberate on the principles of deliberation, ad in¬nitum,

before we could ever reason), then we need an account of how we always
start from somewhere, particularly from some historically located point,
and an account of how we could ever come to be in a position whereby we
could rationally revise those standards. (MacIntyre by and large avoids the
over-intellectualistic bent of neo-Kantian attempts to provide some kind of
general and relatively formal test for rational permissibility with his own
more existential and practice-based account of why certain conceptions of
practical reason turn out to be unlivable.)
Central to MacIntyre™s account of practical reason, as we have seen,
is the refusal to separate it into some rock-bottom distinction of “form”
and “content” and to argue instead that our conceptions of what counts
as good reasoning is linked to our conceptions of those substantive goods
about which we are reasoning. In that light, the appeal to the “authority
of tradition” is necessary since it is only in certain social relationships and
by building and sustaining certain forms of character that we are able to
reason well at all. However, MacIntyre does not subscribe to an account
of social life that holds that “the authority of tradition” is the ¬nal, nonre-
visable stopping point at which all questioning must stop and that citizens
can at best reconcile themselves with each other “ understand what has to
be endured, hoped for, and sacri¬ced “ only when they all submit to the
“authority of tradition” even where there can be no rational account of
why that tradition could or should hold their allegiance. The “authority of
tradition” is itself subject to assessment by reason, even if the capacities for
good reason are not capacities that can be exercised outside of some appeal
to such authority.
MacIntyre™s own moral realism therefore has to make room for the other
idea implicit in his view that moral reality can itself come to change as
social practices change and the substantive goods that are part and parcel
of our practical reasoning therefore change. Thus, there are true and false
judgments to be made within changeable moral realities; the judgments
made within one such moral reality are incommensurable with judgments
made in the other; and some moral realities can be shown to be more rational
than others (and hence better as offering more sustainable lives) by virtue
of the way in which they emerge for MacIntyre as answering the problems
raised in some other failed tradition.
MacIntyre™s own commitment to the primacy of practical reason (along
with his rejection of Kantian dualisms about form and content in reason-
ing) puts him squarely into the post-Kantian camp, however Aristotelian
and Thomistic he might otherwise wish to be, and that makes it dif¬cult to
see just how he could think that that modernity itself could be defeated in
MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

the way he apparently thinks it can. For example, he thinks that his social-
practice conception of reason is not simply one option among many but
has itself come to be required of us by virtue of the way in which the social
realities of our time have “defeated” its immediate competitors, such as the
nineteenth-century encyclopedic version of rationality discussed in Three
Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition. In
that book, MacIntyre argued that by virtue of the Victorians understanding
of their particular conception of rationality as universal, they necessarily
put themselves in the position of being unable to treat other competing
versions in their own terms, and thus were able only to redescribe their
own competitors (particularly those in non-European cultures) as merely
failed versions of themselves, and to understand themselves as markers of
“progress” beyond the superstitions of the European past and the contem-
porary non-European world (Three Rival Versions, pp. 21“22). The break-
down of that encyclopedic project had to do with the way in which their
assumption of a single, substantive rationality to which all educated persons
would obviously consent fell apart under the pressure of both Nietzschean
criticism and the crises brought about by the Great War, which elicited
in turn a dark skepticism about the European way of life as embodying
inevitable progress in comparison with all others (Three Rival Versions,
pp. 23“24).
Against that, MacIntyre has famously argued for a Thomist understand-
ing of the failure of modern morality (the successor to and continuation of
the encyclopedic project) as being due to the fact that it is only a set of “frag-
mentary survivals posing problems that cannot fail to be insoluble so long
as they are not restored to their places in those wholes from which they took
their character as parts” (Three Rival Versions, p. 192). Given MacIntyre™s
own social-practice account of reason, for his argument against moder-
nity to work and for Thomism to defeat modernity the social wholes that
are necessary for Thomist reasoning to be successful would themselves
have to be reconstituted “ the medieval way of life would have to be re-
vived “ and there is simply no reason to think that is possible. For it to be
possible, the kind of pluralism that gives rise to the problems of incom-
mensurability would itself have to be overcome, and everything MacIntyre
says seems to constitute an argument to the effect that it cannot, that plu-
ralism is a necessary, even rationally required component of the modern
The very primacy that he gives to reason and his emphasis on change-
able moral reality is itself the result of the rupture in human time that he
otherwise wishes to deplore, and the very conception of the primacy of

practical reason itself as forming the basis by which moral reality is consti-
tuted is itself the result of the breakdown of those earlier medieval wholes;
medieval agents did not so much lose an argument with the moderns as they
came to discover that they simply could no longer be those types of peo-
ple any more “ indeed, for all the kinds of reasons that MacIntyre himself
lays out.
MacIntyre is thus left with a conception of modernity that is de¬nitely
not encyclopedic but is nonetheless inevitably “negative” in character. Cen-
tral to all of MacIntyre™s arguments about the incommensurability of fun-
damentally different viewpoints “ nicely captured in the title of his book,
Whose Justice? Which Rationality? “ is a form of what Hegelians would call
modern self-consciousness, namely the very modern suspicion that what we
have taken as ¬xed and eternal is perhaps only the posit of a contingent, even
arbitrary viewpoint, or perhaps only the expression of some hidden power
or interest. That view “ against which the Victorian encyclopedic view is at
best a holding maneuver, an attempt to af¬rm an industrial and colonialist
self-understanding as resting on eternally ¬xed norms “ itself provokes the
kind of eternal dissatisfaction with itself that is most fundamentally char-
acteristic of modernity, a capacity to continually undermine itself in light
of the failure of its own standards of rationality to prove themselves free of
contingency and interest.
MacIntyre shares with both Hegel and Wittgenstein the view that
de¬nitive of the modern standpoint is the double awareness of the his-
torical and social contingency of all our points of view and the necessity to
provide justi¬cations of those points of view, which itself forms the basic,
underlying tension in all modern life and culture. Hegel metaphorically
described this as the eternal production of the opposition of subjective and
objective points of view and their eternal reconciliation “ the recognition
of the contingency of our norms and the equal necessity to justify them “ a
tension which Robert Pippin has encapsulated as “unending modernity.”8
There is no reason to think that there is anything on the horizon other than
what MacIntyre has described as the clash of incommensurable viewpoints
and the necessity to adopt standards of justi¬cation that take that clash into
consideration “ and that just is modernity, something radical, something
that cannot be overcome and that is therefore “absolute.”9
This of course replaces a morality and politics of perfection with one of
self-determination, but it cannot see this self-determination as free-¬‚oating,
purely spontaneous, and able to generate its principles autonomously out of
itself. Instead, it is a historically circumscribed form of self-determination.
Moral and political action and re¬‚ection always begins in a particular,
MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

historical situation, and what is always “given” to us is not some set of
nondefeasible norms or ¬xed standards of rationality but only the inherited
social and historical situation in which we ¬nd ourselves. We always begin,
that is, within a contingently formed point of view, and to be a responsi-
ble modern ethical agent requires acknowledgment of that contingency, a
recognition that what we take as the exigencies of the world “ “the way
the world is” “ might themselves be only expressions of some particular
interest or serving the goals of some particular, contingent powers. What
MacIntyre stresses (and what links him with the post-Kantians) is the fail-
ure of a purely individualist understanding of our agency to make sense of
that historical embeddedness. His book, Dependent Rational Animals: Why
Human Beings Need the Virtues, brings out quite clearly his emphasis on the
acknowledgment of mutual dependency as opposed to the fantasy, perhaps
infantile in origin, of complete and utter independence in moral reasoning.
Only through a properly structured set of mutual dependencies can we even
become independent practical reasoners at all.10 The truly vexatious side of
modern market society for MacIntyre seems to be the way in which its ideal
of and celebration of the sovereign consumer and the independent citizen
effectively mask the layers of dependencies that are necessary for such at-
tempts at individualism even to get going. Modern “individualist” society
thus effectively undermines itself, having to preserve the structures of mu-
tual dependency against which it then rebels and that, from the standpoint
of individualist modernism™s self-understanding, can only appear as irra-
tional (instead of being seen as what they are, the condition of independent
practical reasoning itself).
MacIntyre™s critique of modernity is thus a critique from within moder-
nity itself, even though it is often clothed as a rejection of the modern world,
a call for a lost medieval and Thomist past. On his own terms, modernity
represents a radical break with the past, and on his own terms, it is not some-
thing to be overcome in a new epoch. A “new Saint Benedict” would be a
modern Saint Benedict, preserving the virtues appropriate to an individualist
way of life by fostering the social structures that make our proper mutual
dependencies apparent and rational, which would abolish the structures
of exploitation that currently pervade the falsely understood and compre-
hended modern world. If he in fact accomplished that task, he would do it
not as a Saint Benedict at all but only a Mr. or Ms. Benedict, an equal citizen
of a modern, constitutionalist political order. Indeed, MacIntyre™s emphasis
on the necessity of acknowledging contingency and the incommensurabil-
ity of points of view, the necessity of preserving a notion of truth that is
not reducible to “warranted assertability” (not relative, that is, to particular

points of view), and the necessity of justifying ourselves to each other in
order to hold ourselves mutually to norms that are livable and rational,
make him a modernist per excellence “ much more so than those who insist
on a noncontingent, nonperspectival notion of reason and a context-free
celebration of science, and much, much more so than those who vapidly
insist on the relativity of everything.


1. This seems to be the point of the question asked in the title of Whose Justice? Which
Rationality? MacIntyre makes it clear that this does not rule out any more general
conception of the good. For example, in Dependent Rational Animals (p. 67),
MacIntyre says:
We therefore need to distinguish between what it is that makes certain
goods goods and goods to be valued for their own sake from what it is
that makes it good for this particular individual or this particular society
in this particular situation to make them objects of her or his or their
effective practical regard. And our judgments about how it is best for an
individual or a community to order the goods in their lives exemplify this
third type of ascription, one whereby we judge unconditionally about what
it is best for individuals or groups to be or do or have not only qua agents
engaged in this or that form of activity in this or that role or roles, but also
qua human being. It is these judgments that are judgments about human
Nonetheless, even when we begin from a premise such as “such and such is
unquali¬edly the good and the best,” our reasoning cannot reach its conclu-
sion unless it is also mediated by deliberation on things like “what means
will achieve the good and the best in the type of situation in which I ¬nd
2. Whose Justice?, pp. 356“357:
The mind is adequate to its objects insofar as the expectations which it
frames on the basis of these activities are not liable to disappointment and
the remembering which it engages in enables it to return to and recover
what it had encountered previously, whether the objects themselves are
still present or not . . . One of the great originating insights of tradition-
constituted inquiries is that false beliefs and false judgments represent a
failure of the mind, not of its objects. It is the mind which stands in need of
correction. So the most primitive conception of truth is of the manifestness
of the objects which present themselves to mind; and it is when mind fails
to re-present that manifestness that falsity, the inadequacy of mind to its
objects, appears.
See also Three Rival Versions, pp. 121“122.
3. See Three Rival Versions:
The rational superiority of that tradition to rival traditions is held to reside
in its capacity not only for identifying and characterizing the limitations
MacIntyre™s Critique of Modernity

and failures of that rival tradition as judged by that rival tradition™s own
standards, limitations and failures which that rival tradition itself lacks
the resources to explain or understand, but also for explaining and un-
derstanding those limitations and failures in some tolerably precise way.
Moreover it must be the case that the rival tradition lacks the capacity
similarly to identify, characterize, and explain limitations and failures of
the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition. (p. 181)
4. On the one hand, since MacIntyre clearly subscribes to some version of natu-
ral law, there is a very extended sense in which he believes that nature, suitably
described, does in fact set the law for us, and, as he makes it clear in Dependent
Rational Animals, he thinks our rational capacities should be counted as real-
izations of a human nature. But even there he still quali¬es those capacities as
social and thus not as something to be developed out of some account merely
of our biological nature. MacIntyre™s endorsement of natural law therefore turns
on how much weight is to be put on the notion of our rational, social natures as
realizations of our more directly biological nature.
5. There are those who ¬nd it odd even to claim that MacIntyre defends plu-
ralism, but they overlook the many passages in which he does so. For exam-
ple, in the concluding chapter of Three Rival Versions, he argues against Allen
Bloom™s and William Bennett™s claims for reinstituting a “great books” program
since until the problem of how to read those books has been resolved, “such
lists do not rise to the status of a concrete proposal” (p. 228). He adds that
often defend it as a way of restoring to us and to our students what they
speak of as our cultural tradition; but we are in fact the inheritors . . . of a
number of rival and incompatible traditions and there is no way of either
selecting a list of books to be read or advancing a determinate account of
how they are to be read . . . which does not involve taking a partisan stand
in the con¬‚ict of traditions.
In such a pluralist society, the appropriate role of the university is to be a “place of
constrained disagreement, of imposed participation in con¬‚ict, in which a central
responsibility of higher education would be to initiate students into con¬‚ict.”
MacIntyre does believe that a uni¬ed consensus on what is good is a necessary
condition of a fully ¬‚ourishing social life, but he also claims in various places
that imposing such unity on the heterogeneity of modern life would not itself be
a good:
[T]he shared public goods of the modern nation-sate are not the common
goods of a genuine nation-wide community and, when the nation-state
masquerades as the guardian of such a common good, the outcome is
bound to be either ludicrous or disastrous or both . . . In a modern, large-
scale nation-state no such collectivity is possible and the pretense that it is
is always an ideological disguise for sinister realities. (Dependent Rational
Animals, p. 132)
6. Hegel 1988, p. 286: “Sie sind. Wenn sie sich meiner Einsicht legitimieren sollen,
so habe ich schon ihr unwankendes Ansichsein bewegt, und betrachte sie als
etwas, das vielleicht wahr, vielleicht auch nicht wahr fur mich sei.”

7. There are some other important tendencies in MacIntyre™s thought that seem to
involve restricting Aristotelian-Thomist reasoning to being appropriate only
to the way of life of small communities, such that: something like it always tends
to emerge whenever a small enough community with the requisite consensus on
human ¬‚ourishing comes to be; the realm of “empire” therefore has been and
will continue to be inimical to such “communal” Thomism; and such reasoning
is a realization of our natural powers that nonetheless point us beyond ourselves
toward our dependencies on a power greater than us, and that, when realized,
lead us to acknowledge our own lack of self-suf¬ciency. However, this view
(if it is indeed part of MacIntyre™s view) rests on a much less historicist thesis
than does much of the rest of MacIntyre™s thought, since it claims in effect that
Aristotelian-Thomist reasoning naturally grows out of a certain basic human
reality instead of growing out of a certain very determinate historical and social
practice. Thus the question is whether Thomism is tied to the practices that
gave rise to it, or whether it can make a more universalistic claim to being the
appropriate mode of reasoning of all those small communities that have escaped
corruption by the temptations of empire.
8. See Hegel 1971b, pp. 459“460:
Pure thought has progressed to the opposition of the subjective and objec-
tive; and the true reconciliation is the insight that this opposition, pushed
to its absolute peak, dissolves itself, that in itself, as Schelling says, the op-
positions are identical, and not only in themselves but rather that eternal
life is this, to eternally produce opposition and eternally to reconcile it.
On “unending modernity,” see Pippin 1991 (the phrase “unending modernity”
is Pippin™s).
9. In that context, it is signi¬cant that Hegel himself characterized “absolute know-
ing” as just the comprehension of the necessity of that fundamental, nondefeasi-
ble tension in modern life. See Hegel 1971b, p. 460: “Absolute knowing is knowing
the opposition within the unity and the unity within the opposition; and science
(Wissenschaft) is knowing this unity in its whole development through itself.”
10. The notion of structured dependencies is also a major theme in Rousseau. See
Neuhouser 1993, pp. 363“395. A brilliant elaboration of the relatedness and
the ineluctability of these paired notions of dependence and independence is to
be found in Pippin 2000.

This bibliography consists of four sections. The ¬rst section includes all
books authored or edited by MacIntyre. The second section includes all
of the articles by MacIntyre cited in this book as well as a number of his
other more important papers. The third section is a selected bibliography
of works about MacIntyre, and the fourth section includes other works cited
in this volume.
All books authored or edited by MacIntyre are cited in this volume by
abbreviated title; all other works are cited by the author™s last name and
the year of publication. Second and later editions are cited by the year of
publication of the ¬rst edition; the year of publication of the cited edition
is given in brackets.

1. Books Authored or Edited by MacIntyre

1951. The Signi¬cance of Moral Judgments. M.A. Thesis, University of Manchester.
Unpublished. Cited as Signi¬cance of Moral Judgments.
1953. Marxism: An Interpretation. SCM Press. Cited as Marxism: An Interpretation.
1955. New Essays in Philosophical Theology (edited, with Antony Flew). Macmillan.
Cited as New Essays.
1957. Metaphysical Beliefs: Three Essays (with Stephen Toulmin and Ronald
W. Hepburn). SCM Press. Cited as Metaphysical Beliefs.
1958. The Unconscious: A Conceptual Analysis. Routledge and Kegan Paul. Cited as
1959. Dif¬culties in Christian Belief. SCM Press.
1965. Hume™s Ethical Writings (edited). Collier.
1966. A Short History of Ethics. Macmillan. Cited as Short History.
1967. Secularization and Moral Change. Oxford University Press.
1968. Marxism and Christianity. Schocken. Cited as Marxism and Christianity.
1970. Herbert Marcuse: An Exposition and a Polemic. Viking.
1971. Against the Self-Images of the Age. University of Notre Dame Press. Cited as
1972. Hegel: A Collection of Critical Essays (edited). Anchor. Cited as Hegel.

202 Bibliography

1981 [1984]. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. 2nd ed. University of Notre
Dame Press. Cited as After Virtue.
1983. Revisions: Changing Perspectives in Moral Philosophy (edited with Stanley
Hauerwas). University of Notre Dame Press. Cited as Revisions.
1988. Whose Justice? Which Rationality? University of Notre Dame Press. Cited as
Whose Justice?.
1990. First Principles, Final Ends, and Contemporary Philosophical Issues. Marquette
University Press. Cited as First Principles.
1990. Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopaedia, Genealogy, and Tradition.
University of Notre Dame Press. Cited as Three Rival Versions.
1998. The MacIntyre Reader, ed. Kelvin Knight. University of Notre Dame Press.
Cited as MacIntyre Reader.
1999. Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues. Open Court.
Cited as Dependent Rational Animals.

2. Articles and Reviews by MacIntyre

1950. “Analogy in Metaphysics.” Downside Review 69, pp. 45“61.
1955a. “Cause and Cure in Psychotherapy.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 29
(supplement), pp. 43“58.
1955b. “The Nature and Destiny of Man: Getting the Question Clear.” Modern
Churchman 45, pp. 171“176.
1955c. “A Note on Immortality.” Mind 64, pp. 396“399.
1955d. “Visions.” In New Essays, pp. 254“260.
1956. “Marxist Tracts.” Philosophical Quarterly 6, pp. 366“370.
1957a. “Determinism.” Mind 66, pp. 28“41.
1957b. “The Logical Status of Religious Beliefs.” In Metaphysical Beliefs, pp. 157“
1957c. “What Morality Is Not.” Philosophy 32, pp. 325“335. Cited to reprinted
version in Self-Images, pp. 96“108.
1958. “Notes from the Moral Wilderness I.” New Reasoner 7, pp. 90“100. Cited to
reprinted version in MacIntyre Reader, pp. 31“40.
1959a. “Hume on ˜Is™ and ˜Ought.™ ” Philosophical Review 68, pp. 451“468. Cited to
reprinted version in Self-Images, pp. 109“124.
1959b. “Notes from the Moral Wilderness II.” New Reasoner 8, pp. 89“98. Cited to
reprinted version in MacIntyre Reader, pp. 41“49.
1960. “Purpose and Intelligent Action.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 34
(supp.), pp. 79“96.
1962. “A Note about Causality in the Social Sciences.” In Laslett and Runciman
1962, pp. 48“70.
1965a. “Imperatives, Reasons for Action, and Morals.” Journal of Philosophy 62,
pp. 513“523. Cited to reprinted version in Self-Images, pp. 125“135.

1965b. “Pleasure as a Reason for Action.” Monist 49, pp. 215“233. Cited to reprinted
version in Self-Images, pp. 173“190.
1965c. “Weber at His Weakest.” Encounter 25, pp. 27“37.
1966a. “The Antecedents of Action.” In Williams and Monte¬ore 1966, pp. 205“
225. Cited to reprinted version in Self-Images, pp. 191“210.
1966b. “Recent Political Philosophy.” In Thompson 1966, pp. 189“200.
1967a. “The Idea of a Social Science.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 41 (supp.),
pp. 95“114. Cited to reprinted version in Self-Images, pp. 211“229.
1967b. Review of Rudner 1966. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 18, pp. 344“
1967c. Review of L´ vi-Strauss 1966. Philosophical Quarterly 17, pp. 559“561.
1968. “Son of Ideology” (review of Lichtheim 1967). New York Review of Books 10
(9), pp. 26“28.
1969. Review of Brodbeck 1968. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 20,
pp. 174“175.
1970. “Is Understanding Religion Compatible with Believing?” In Wilson 1970,
pp. 62“77.
1971a. “Emotion, Behavior, and Belief.” In Self-Images, pp. 230“243.
1971b. “The End of Ideology and the End of the End of Ideology.” In Self-Images,
pp. 3“11.
1971c. “Is a Science of Comparative Politics Possible?” In Self-Images, pp. 260“
1971d. “Ought.” In Self-Images, pp. 136“156.
1971e. “Rationality and the Explanation of Action.” In Self-Images, pp. 244“
1971f. “Some More about ˜Ought™.” In Self-Images, pp. 157“172.
1972a. “Hegel on Faces and Skulls.” In Hegel, pp. 219“236.
1972b. “Justice: A New Theory and Some Old Questions” (review of Rawls 1971).
Boston University Law Review 52, pp. 330“334.
1972c. “Praxis and Action.” (Review of Bernstein 1972.) Review of Metaphysics 25,
pp. 737“744.
1973a. “The Essential Contestability of Some Social Concepts.” Ethics 84,
pp. 1“9.
1973b. “Ideology, Social Science, and Revolution.” Comparative Politics 5, pp. 321“
1974. “Durkheim™s Call to Order” (review of Lukes 1973). New York Review of Books
7, pp. 25“26.
1975. “Toward a Theory of Medical Fallibility” (with Samuel Gorowitz). Hastings
Center Report 5, pp 13“23.
1976. “Causality and History.” In Manninen and Tuomela 1976, pp. 137“158.
1977a. “Epistemological Crises, Dramatic Narrative, and the Philosophy of
Science.” Monist 60, pp. 453“472.
204 Bibliography


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