Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-nmvwc Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-19T12:03:43.914Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

3 - After Virtue

Nietzsche or Aristotle, Institutions and Practices

from Part I - After Virtue and Ethical Theory

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 October 2023

Tom Angier
Affiliation:
University of Cape Town
Get access

Summary

One of the most discussed theoretical innovations in After Virtue is the distinction that Alasdair MacIntyre draws in its fourteenth chapter between ‘practices’ and ‘institutions’. The distinction is both sociological and ethical. Whereas Wittgenstein, Rawls and others use the terms as synonyms, MacIntyre specifies by ‘practices’ shared activities ordered to common, ‘internal’ goods and by ‘institutions’ formal organisations structured in pursuit of ‘goods external to practices’. In this, he aimed to identify ‘sociological’ grounds for teleological reasoning, including that of personal narratives, intellectual traditions and an ethics capable of apprehending rules, consequences and virtues. Whereas Hegelians and Marxists socialised reason in the state, MacIntyre separated shared reasoning directed to common goods from reasoning motivated by a will to power, money or status, whether institutionalised in states or in capitalist corporations. In this way, he provided an ethical critique of all existing power structures, which has been described as a ‘revolutionary’ Aristotelianism. In contrast to external goods and institutions, practices tutor individuals in the virtues by presenting non-instrumental goods to which they may re-orientate their desires and actions in conformity with shared reasoning and standards of excellence. Whilst MacIntyre’s subsequent journey into Thomistic Aristotelianism has added to what After Virtue says about teleological reasoning, his idea of social practices remains central to his account of how plain persons become independent practical reasoners.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • After Virtue
  • Edited by Tom Angier, University of Cape Town
  • Book: MacIntyre's <i>After Virtue</i> at 40
  • Online publication: 12 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009076036.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • After Virtue
  • Edited by Tom Angier, University of Cape Town
  • Book: MacIntyre's <i>After Virtue</i> at 40
  • Online publication: 12 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009076036.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • After Virtue
  • Edited by Tom Angier, University of Cape Town
  • Book: MacIntyre's <i>After Virtue</i> at 40
  • Online publication: 12 October 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009076036.005
Available formats
×