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The moral wilderness

Alasdair MacIntyre virtually invented the young field of virtue ethics. Yet MacIntyre thinks his acolytes are sadly misguided

By prospect   December 2008

Selected Essays (2 vols) by Alasdair MacIntyre (CUP, £15.99 each)

For more than 50 years, Alasdair MacIntyre has been telling us that the world is out of joint. Drawing on the combined resources of Marxism and Christianity, he argues that modernity has been crippled by a catastrophic rift between morality and reality—in other words, between our choices about how to live our lives and the conditions that make rational deliberation possible. And the fact that no one seems particularly bothered is, in his opinion, just another symptom of comprehensive calamity.

MacIntyre has made his case in a hugely impressive series…

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