For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

The Tasks of Philosophy: Selected Essays, Volume 1

by MacIntyre, Alasdair (2006)


How should we respond when some of our basic beliefs are put into question? What makes a human body distinctively human? Why is truth an important good? These are among the questions explored in this 2006 collection of essays by Alasdair MacIntyre, one of the most creative and influential philosophers working today. Ten of MacIntyre's most influential essays written over almost thirty years are collected together here for the first time. They range over such topics as the issues raised by different types of relativism, what it is about human beings that cannot be understood by the natural sciences, the relationship between the ends of life and the ends of philosophical writing, and the relationship of moral philosophy to contemporary social practice. They will appeal to a wide range of readers across philosophy and especially in moral philosophy, political philosophy, and theology.

Key Passage

To understand oneself as having such a determinate and shared nature and correspondingly a well-defined place in the order of things is, on a Thomistic view, to understand oneself as a part of more than one whole, constituted as what one is not only by the relation of oneself as individual human being to one’s household and family, and to the good of that household and family, and of oneself and one’s family to the local political community, and to the good of that community, and of oneself, one’s family, and one’s political community to the whole natural order and to the good to which nature is ordered. I am therefore in key part constituted as who I am, and what I am by the social roles to which I find myself assigned and by the relationships within which my life is embedded. During a lifetime, of course, individuals occupy different roles and over time both roles and relationships are to some degree transformed.  (p.194)


Macintyre, Aristotle, Aquinas, Telos


The Tasks of Philosophy: Selected Essays, Volume 1, Ethics and Politics, 2 Vols

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