online great books

#77- MacIntyre’s After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory

Why are modern debates on morality so shrill?

This week, Scott and Karl read After Virtue, a book on moral philosophy by Alasdair MacIntyre.

Published in 1981, MacIntyre examines the historical and conceptual roots of the idea of virtue and diagnoses the reasons for its absence in personal and public life. In Karl’s words, “Ethical conversations are currently pointless and unable to be resolved. We talk about reason, we talk about right and wrong, but we don’t really mean it.”

Maclntyre believes that modern life is characterized by the absence of any coherent moral code, and especially a lack of any genuine community. According to Maclntyre, there’s importance in being a part of a community “within which civility and the intellectual and moral life can be sustained through the new dark ages which are already upon us.”

After Virtue is a really hard book to read and fully understand, but it’s the enjoyable kind of hard. Tune in to hear Scott and Karl talk about virtue and the fate of a moral culture without a shared telos.

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