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2008 | 1 | 69-89

Article title

Alasdair Maclntyre: An Alternative to Individualism


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In the world where individualism has become an obvious quality, the views of Alasdair MacIntyre may be considered peculiar, which does not spell ‘mistaken’. David Lorenzo is convinced that there is a reason to have MacIntyre’s views brought into attention, as they may offer a remedy against the radical individualism.In MacIntyre’s concept, a person has the ability to develop, and is not therefore a static entity that could easily be defined by attributing unchanging characteristics. The correct development means that a person ‘flourishes’, i.e. “attains independence in practical reasoning”. Human life is a coherent unity, a ‘narration’ of the individual ‘flourish’, that is a development in which the capacity to attain ‘good’ increases.For something to flourish, a beginning or foundation is needed. In the case of a human, the foundation is provided in ‘human nature’ which empowers the person with the elementary skills for further growth. The goal of the development, in turn, is striving to the ‘good’ that is defined by the rules of natural law, whose foundations lie in the common ‘human nature’. Thus, “following MacIntyre’s system, we may notice that human autonomy operates under the influence of principles that do not originate from it”.Nevertheless, the recognition of the principles of natural law is impossible for an average human without falling back upon good ‘practices’. ‘Practices’ through which ‘virtue’, i.e. the “capacities of the mind that allow the recognition of relative goods and the use of skills to attain them” is cultivated. They may develop properly only in individual communities with set traditions. Hence such a major importance of the notion of ‘community’ in MacIntyre, who claims that the “recognition of dependence [on community] is the key to independence”. In other words, only the recognition of the superior role of community in the life of the individual allows the individual full exercise of the capacities offered by their nature.



  • Universitat Internacional de Catalunya in Barcelona


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