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Ethics and Politics: Selected Essays, Volume 2

by MacIntyre, Alasdair (2006)


Alasdair MacIntyre is one of the most creative and important philosophers working today. This volume presents a selection of his classic essays on ethics and politics collected together for the first time, focussing particularly on the themes of moral disagreement, moral dilemmas, and truthfulness and its importance. The essays range widely in scope, from Aristotle and Aquinas and what we need to learn from them, to our contemporary economic and social structures and the threat which they pose to the realization of the forms of ethical life. They will appeal to a wide range of readers across philosophy and especially in moral philosophy, political philosophy, and theology.

Key Passage

We are always liable to error in making particular moral judgments, sometimes intellectual errors such as going beyond the evidence or relying upon some unsubstantiated generalization, sometimes moral errors such as being over-influenced by our liking and disliking of particular individuals or projecting on to a situation some unrecognized phantasy or exhibiting either insensitivity to or sentimentality about suffering. And our intellectual errors are often rooted in moral errors. We need therefore to have tested our capacity for moral deliberation and judgment in this and that type of situation by subjecting our arguments and judgments systematically to the critical scrutiny of reliable others, of co-workers, family, friends. Such others, of course, are not themselves always reliable and some may influence us in ways that strengthen the propensity to error. So to have confidence in our deliberations and judgments we need social relationships of a certain kind, forms of social association in and through which our deliberations and practical judgments are subjected to extended and systematic critical questioning. But this is not all. Moral agents have to understand themselves as accountable, not only in their roles, but also as rational individuals. The responsibilities that are socially assigned to roles are defined in part by the types of accountability that attach to them. For each role there is a range of particular others, to whom, if they fail in their responsibilities, they owe an account that either excuses or admits to the offense and accepts the consequences. Without such accountability the notion of responsibility would be empty. (p.191)


Macintyre, Aristotle, Aquinas, Telos, Marxism, Moral Disagreement, Moral Philosophy, Ethics, Free Markets, Enlightenment


Ethics and Politics, 2 Vols

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