Archives For Alasdair Macintyre

 

Alasdair_MacIntyre

 

Today (January 12) is the 87th birthday of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre.

 
MacIntyre’s book, After Virtue, is arguably the most important work of contemporary philosophy for Christians today, and this book has greatly shaped theological discourse since its release in 1981.
 

After Virtue: 3rd Edition
Alasdair MacIntyre

Paperback:  Notre Dame, 2006
Buy now:  [ Amazon ]   [ Kindle ]
 
Here are some helpful resources that introduce and guide you through this important book…

  1. Read Stanley Hauerwas’s brief introduction to MacIntyre:
    The Virtues of Alasdair MacIntyre  
    (First Things, October 2007)

  2. Continue Reading…

 

“Back-Stories and St. Benedict

A Review of
Unlearning Protestantism:
Sustaining Christian Community in An Unstable Age.
By Gerald W. Schlabach.

Reviewed by
Gregory A. Clark.

Unlearning Protestantism:
Sustaining Christian Community in An Unstable Age.
Gerald W. Schlabach.
Paperback: Brazos Press, 2010.
Buy now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

UNLEARNING  PROTESTANTISM - Gerald SchlabachThe back-story is everything.

Alasdair MacIntyre’s  After Virtue laid down a broad and devastating critique of modernity, and his call for another, “very different” St. Benedict makes sense only against that critique.  Gerald Schlabach’s Unlearning Protestantism follows MacIntyre’s narrative with two differences:  first, the critique of modernity is tied to an analysis and critique of Protestantism, and second, the St. Benedict we need isn’t so different from the first.

The first two chapters of Unlearning Protestantism show that Protestantism has been one important force in the development of modernity.  Protestantism came to be through narration of the context called for deep and thorough reform, and we properly consider as virtues the qualities of character that enabled the reformers to act as they did.  But soon that drive for reform detached itself from the context and set itself up as a principle valid on its own merits.  Schlabach articulates “the protestant principle” in the language of Paul Tillich: “because all human institutions fall short of God’s standard, they are always subject to ‘prophetic’ critique and reform” (24).  Making the principle the basis for community life leads to “the Protestant dilemma”: all institutions, including Protestant churches, are always subject to critique, to being rejected, overthrown, or dismissed as superfluous.  Protestantism is the principle of instability.  The Enlightenment has seen itself as completing the Protestant Reformation ever since.  Schlabach’s second chapter, “The Matter of Continuity,” shows how the drive for perpetual reform played itself out in Mennonite “tradition of dissent” in the 20th century.

Continue Reading…

 

“Being Transformed
In the Direction of a World without Death”

A Review of
After You Believe:
Why Christian Character Matters.

N.T. Wright.

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

After You Believe:
Why Christian Character Matters.

N.T. Wright
.
Hardback: HarperOne, 2010.
Buy Now: [ ChristianBook.com ]

[ Enter to win a copy of this book or others by N.T. Wright! ]


NT Wright - AFTER YOU BELIEVEN.T. Wright’s newest book, After You Believe: Why Christian Character Matters, follows in the footsteps of two of his other recent books 2006’s Simply Christian — which makes a case for Christianity in a fashion not unlike that of C.S. Lewis’s classic Mere Christianity — and 2008’s Surprised by Hope — which explores in depth resurrection and the biblical concept of heaven.  Wright describes the trajectory of the three book in this new volume’s preface: “Christian life in the present, with its responsibilities and particular callings, is to be understood and shaped in relation to the final goal for which we have been made and redeemed.  The better we understand that goal, the better we shall understand the path toward it” (ix).  All three of these books are excellent, but this newest volume is most relevant to the sort of holistic Christian faith that we regularly advocate for here in the pages of The Englewood Review.  Wright’s case for the significance of Christian character is based on the philosophical concept of virtue, which he traces back to the Greek philosopher Aristotle, although he emphasizes that for the Church, the Aristotelian concept of virtue must be reinterpreted through the lenses of Scripture and the tradition of the Church.  His locating the focus of Christian ethics — for that in a nutshell is what After You Believe is about — in virtue is much endebted to the work of Roman Catholic philosopher Alasdair Macintyre and noted theologian Stanley Hauerwas, whose work relies heavily upon that of Macintyre.  However, although Wright does believe that the church is essential to the redemptive work of God in the world, After You Believe seems to evade the strongly communitarian themes that drive the work of Hauerwas and Macintyre. For instance, for the first half of the book, Wright addresses virtue in almost completely individualistic terms and only in the second half of the book does he begin to explore the role of the Church in the development of virtue.  Finally, in the last chapter he gets around to making the crucial point that “[O]ne of the primary locations where, and means by which, any of us learns the habits of the Christian heart and life is what we loosely call the church” (272), noting that this is not a book on ecclesiology.  Although Wright is a bit reticent on the role of the Church in the development of virtue, we should be clear that he is also not a thoroughgoing individualist.  For instance, he drives home the point early in the book that:

Christian virtue isn’t about you — your happiness, your fulfillment, your self-realization.  It’s about God and God’s kingdom, and your discovery of a genuine human experience by the paradoxical route — the route God himself took in Jesus Christ! — of giving yourself away , of generous love which refuses to take center stage (70).

Despite his overall minimization of the Church’s role in the development of virtue, After You Believe is an excellent book and makes a strong case for virtue as the demonstration of the Holy Spirit’s “transformation of character” in us.

Continue Reading…

 

Miroslav Volf Reviews JUSTICE: RIGHTS AND WRONGS
by Nicholas Wolterstorff

http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2009/janfeb/16.26.html

Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Justice: Rights and Wrongs is a magisterial book. In it and in its smaller forthcoming companion volume Justice and Love, Wolterstorff has gotten justice right. This, in case the thrust of my terse comment wasn’t plain enough, is very high praise. I’ll register a few small gripes and suggest a shift in emphasis. But these mild criticisms, even if I am correct in making them, don’t take much away from the greatness of Wolterstorff’s extraordinary achievement or from the basic correctness of his position.

 

Together with two of my colleagues at Yale Divinity School, David Kelsey (emeritus) and John Hare, I have started a multiyear project entitled “God and Human Flourishing.” That project provides the angle from which I write. I will ask of Wolterstorff’s books two principal questions: What is the account of human flourishing that they contain? And what is the relation between God and human flourishing thus understood? A conception of justice and the relationship between love and justice will turn out to be central in answering both of these questions.

 

Part of the foundation of Wolterstorff’s proposal about justice—and about the relation between justice and love—is an account of human flourishing. He distinguishes his own account from two prevalent positions. A flourishing life is neither merely an “experientially satisfying life,” as many contemporary Westerners think, nor is it simply a life “well-lived,” as a majority of ancient Western philosophers have claimed. Instead, argues Wolterstorff, explicating the moral vision of the Christian Scriptures, human flourishing consists in “the life that is both lived well and goes well.” The “life lived well” component brings out the agent dimension of human flourishing and of the moral order that underpins it; a well-lived life is one that a person leads well. The “life goes well” component brings out the recipient dimension of human flourishing and of the moral order that underpins it; the life that goes well is one in which a person enjoys good things and right kinds of relationships. In a sense, Wolterstorff’s third account of human flourishing is a synthesis of the prevalent two.

Read the full review:
http://www.christianitytoday.com/bc/2009/janfeb/16.26.html

JUSTICE: RIGHTS AND WRONGS
Nicholas Wolterstorff.

Hardcover: Princeton UP, 2008.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]


NY TIMES review:
“What Are the Odds a Handy, Quotable Statistic
Is Lying? Better Than Even”

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/03/books/03gewen.html

It’s hard to resist a book that tells you that most people have more than the average number of feet. Or that researchers have found that Republicans enjoy sex more than Democrats do. Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot delight in bringing such facts to our attention — and then in explaining them away.

 

Because of amputations, birth defects and the like, the average number of feet per person across the human population is slightly fewer than two. As for those randy Republicans, the information that matters is that men vote Republican more than women, and also say that they enjoy sex more than women say that they do.

 

“The Numbers Game” grew out of a popular BBC radio show called “More or Less”; Mr. Blastland is the show’s creator, and Mr. Dilnot its former host. Their book appeared in Britain two years ago under the title “The Tiger That Isn’t,” and though it has been “extensively revised” for its American edition and, more mysteriously, given a new title, it still retains a British orientation.

 

That’s O.K. Its examples travel well, as do the authors’ lucid, unruffled style and their wholesome commitment to public enlightenment. “The Numbers Game” is no “Fun With Math” divertissement; its aim is to render its readers a little smarter about statistics, to make better citizens of them. It’s a sugar-coated civics lesson.

 

Most of us, Mr. Blastland and Mr. Dilnot observe, expect numbers to do too much. We like their precision and want to believe that statistics can tell us all we need to know about the world. But precision comes at a price: before you can count something, you have to define what it is you’re counting, and often that’s not as simple as it sounds.

Read the full review:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/03/books/03gewen.html

THE NUMBERS GAME: The Commonsense Guide to
Understanding Numbers in the News, in Politics, and in Life
Michael Blastland and Andrew Dilnot

Hardcover: Gotham Books, 2009.
Buy now: [ Doulos Christou Books $18 ] [ Amazon ]


A Review of Aristotelian Philosophy:
Ethics and Politics from Aristotle to MacIntyre

http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=15146

Kelvin Knight, who previously edited The MacIntyre Reader, has several goals in this new book. He identifies three explicitly: first, “to present an interpretive narrative of the formation of MacIntyre’s philosophy”; second, “to chart the main course through the history of ideas taken by MacIntyre’s Aristotelian tradition, from Aristotle to himself”; and third (the book’s “unifying intention”), “to argue that Aristotelianism has now been revitalized once again, by MacIntyre” (222-23). Weaving these together is an emphasis on the “revolutionary” character of MacIntyre’s views. Unlike either Aristotle or the Aristotelian tradition, which Knight characterizes as frequently legitimating elitist and exclusionary politics, MacIntyre offers a theory of the virtues that is inclusive, egalitarian, and deeply opposed to the global capitalist order of (post)modernity. Knight achieves his goals with varying degrees of success, and at times the attempt to juggle so many balls at once leaves his narrative somewhat disconnected, as the effort to trace out an Aristotelian tradition over centuries is punctuated by sideways glances at various interpretive disputes. This is most pronounced in the third chapter, where in a mere 35 pages Knight follows Aristotle’s path through the remarkably diverse cast of Luther, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Heidegger, and Gadamer, not to mention several lesser figures and a handful of contemporary thinkers. Knight seems to recognize the problem, admitting, “This book is victim to the author’s overnumerous intentions” (222). He is, nevertheless, more successful than not. In particular, his account of MacIntyre’s development into a “revolutionary Aristotelian,” supplementing Thomist Christianity with a residual fidelity to Marx, is both helpful and persuasive.

Read the full review:
http://ndpr.nd.edu/review.cfm?id=15146

Aristotelian Philosophy:
Ethics and Politics from Aristotle to MacIntyre
.
Kelvin Knight.

Paperback: Polity Press, 2007.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Used Book Finds [Vol. 1, #35]

September 12, 2008

 

The bread-n-butter of our bookstore business is the sale of used books, and we do a fair amount of scouting around for used books each week. In this section we feature some of the interesting books that we have found in the past week. Generally, we will only have a single copy of these books, so if you want one (or more) of them, you’ll need to respond quickly.

 

A Short History of Ethics.
Alasdair Macintyre. Paperback. Shaw. 1996 Printing.
Very Good condition. Mostly clean pages, Minimal wear.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $7]

 

The Upside Down Kingdom (Revised Edition).
Donald Kraybill.
Paperback. Herald Press. 1990.
Good Condition. Mostly clean pages, minimal wear.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $5]

 

Glimpses of Glory: 30 Years of Community
The Story of Reba Place Fellowship.
Dave and Neta Jackson.
Paperback. Brethren Press. 1987.
Hard to find!!!
Very Good Condition. Clean pages, moderate wear.
Buy now from: [ Doulos Christou Books $10]