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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This essay discusses the contribution of Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue (1981) to a generation of moral theory. Pitched as a critique of liberal individualism (e.g., Rawls), modernity (e.g., amoral bureaucracies), and the antagonism toward the history of moral theory evinced by analytical philosophers, MacIntyre’s book urges a return toward moral traditions embedded in local communities as the best route to avoid what he regards as the soullessness of modernity and the abyss of Nietzschean philosophy. But his failure to reflect on the political valence of traditions in general or the Aristotelian and Thomist ones he values, seriously compromises his complaints about modernity and his suggestions for ways out.

Keywords: moral theory, liberal individualism, modernity, traditions, Aristotle, Thomism, Nietzsche, MacIntyre

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