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The Right Stuff

Alan Ryan, 24 November 1994

The Principle of Duty 
by David Selbourne.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 288 pp., £17.99, June 1994, 1 85619 474 4
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... hostility, in the present intellectual climate, to liberal individualism. This takes many guises: Alasdair MacIntyre has always been an anti-liberal and an enemy of the Enlightenment, though he has changed his positive allegiances a good deal; Michael Sandel, like Charles Taylor and Pope John Paul II, makes a great thing of ‘identity’. They stress ...

Not Just Yet

Frank Kermode: The Literature of Old Age, 13 December 2007

The Long Life 
by Helen Small.
Oxford, 346 pp., £25, December 2007, 978 0 19 922993 2
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... beginning, a middle and an end ‘there would not be subjects of whom stories could be told.’ So Alasdair MacIntyre; but Small does not agree. As she remarks, few lives have the aesthetic dimensions of literary narratives. Nevertheless she asks whether stories can make some contribution to the debate, and analyses Saul Bellow’s Ravelstein to find ...

History Man

John Robertson, 4 November 1993

G.B. Vico: The Making of an Anti-Modern 
by Mark Lilla.
Harvard, 225 pp., £29.95, April 1993, 0 674 33962 2
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The Rehabilitation of Myth: Vico’s ‘New Science’ 
by Joseph Mali.
Cambridge, 275 pp., £35, September 1992, 0 521 41952 2
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... enough onto the page, often accompanied by the ipsissima verba; and the book ends by hailing Alasdair MacIntyre as Vico’s likeliest modern heir, assisted by Joyce, with a final helping hand from Edward Said. But Mali does not stay long enough with any of these to enable their ideas to assist in the systematic reconstruction of Vico’s own ...

What Philosophers Dream Of

Geoffrey Hawthorn: Bernard Williams, 2 July 2015

Essays and Reviews 1959-2002 
by Bernard Williams.
Princeton, 435 pp., £24.95, January 2014, 978 0 691 15985 0
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... said elsewhere that there had been ‘a rather nervous competition’ between himself, Taylor and Alasdair MacIntyre, a philosopher who was similarly engaged but despaired of liberalism, over which of them could write ‘the most irresponsible history’), but again, although the past may explain how we think, it still fails to explain why we value what ...


Michael Neve, 17 October 1985

Hamlet Closely Observed 
by Martin Dodsworth.
Athlone, 316 pp., £18, July 1985, 0 485 11283 3
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edited by Philip Edwards.
Cambridge, 245 pp., £15, June 1985, 9780521221511
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The Renaissance Hamlet: Issues and Responses in 1600 
by Roland Mushat Frye.
Princeton, 398 pp., £23.75, December 1983, 0 691 06579 9
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... we want him to be all right. A rather more elegant version was one developed by the philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre in a brilliant article in the Monist in 1977. MacIntyre sees Hamlet as reflecting ‘the crisis of the self as a crisis in the tradition which has formed the self’; Hamlet dwells in an unintelligible ...

How philosophers live

James Miller, 8 September 1994

A Pitch of Philosophy: Autobiographical Exercises 
by Stanley Cavell.
Harvard, 196 pp., £20.75, July 1994, 0 674 66980 0
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... of a philosophical generation that includes, among others, Foucault, Habermas, Bernard Williams, Alasdair MacIntyre and Derrida. Currently Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and the General Theory of Value at Harvard, he came of philosophical age in the early Fifties, in a milieu where the very idea of professing, say, a ‘general theory of ...

Someone else’s shoes

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 23 November 1989

A Treatise on Social Justice. Vol. I: Theories of Justice 
by Brian Barry.
Harvester, 428 pp., £30, May 1989, 0 7450 0641 8
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Innocence and Experience 
by Stuart Hampshire.
Allen Lane, 195 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 7139 9027 9
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... itself. Most of those who have more recently thought about the matter (and who do not believe, as Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor now do, that in losing an encompassing faith we have lost all capacity to talk about the public good at all) agree that our own present sense of what, exactly, these two more lively kinds of argument for justice now ...

In the bright autumn of my senescence

Christopher Hitchens, 6 January 1994

In the Heat of the Struggle: Twenty-Five Years of ‘Socialist Worker’ 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 288 pp., £12.50, November 1993, 0 906224 94 2
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Why You Should Join the Socialists 
by Paul Foot.
Bookmarks, 70 pp., £1.90, November 1993, 0 906224 80 2
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... who specialised in the ridiculing of Labourism and the exposure of crooks and fascists. Then Alasdair MacIntyre, free at the time of supernatural baggage, who could tell Kautsky from Korsch. Michael Kidron, a sardonic sophisticate with a refined taste in political economy. John Palmer, a polymathic journalist capable of synthesising the latest news ...

Effing the Ineffable

Glen Newey: Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century by Jonathan Glover, 25 November 1999

Humanity: A Moral History of the 20th Century 
by Jonathan Glover.
Cape, 469 pp., £18.99, October 1999, 0 224 05240 3
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... itself, in the ineffable too much effed, a hot-water bottle, masquerading as something grand. Alasdair MacIntyre once commented that our modern lot is to be unhappy, but reasonable. It is not wrong to hope that philosophy might help to provide the resources to recognise this – perhaps even to come to terms with it. But this project will not be ...

Old Literature and its Enemies

Claude Rawson, 25 April 1991

The Death of Literature 
by Alvin Kernan.
Yale, 230 pp., £18.95, October 1990, 0 300 04783 5
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Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry: Encyclopedia, Genealogy and Tradition 
by Alasdair MacIntyre.
Duckworth, 241 pp., £12.95, August 1990, 0 7156 2337 0
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Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man 
by David Lehman.
Poseidon, 318 pp., $21.95, February 1991, 0 671 68239 3
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... Graff’s model for internalising fundamental controversy into the curriculum has been proposed in Alasdair MacIntyre’s Gifford Lectures. This learned and thoughtful book is concerned with the problem of ‘incommensurable’ positions in theology and in moral philosophy and with the means of providing a forum for rational debate among them. ...

Ruck in the Carpet

Glen Newey: Political Morality, 9 July 2009

Philosophy and Real Politics 
by Raymond Geuss.
Princeton, 116 pp., £11.95, October 2008, 978 0 691 13788 9
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... thoughts which people – such as those on the receiving end of its power – have about it. As Alasdair MacIntyre pointed out long ago, this dims the prospects for a would-be science of comparative politics. It equally dims the outlook for a general theory of political legitimacy. It might be thought that moralism was a disorder of left-liberals. But ...

Masses and Classes

Ferdinand Mount: Gladstone, 17 February 2005

The Mind of Gladstone: Religion, Homer and Politics 
by David Bebbington.
Oxford, 331 pp., £55, March 2004, 0 19 926765 0
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... and others on both sides of the Atlantic, notably Amitai Etzioni, Charles Taylor and Alasdair MacIntyre. Utilitarianism is not enough. If solidarity is to be a real presence in our lives rather than a hollow slogan, then there must be some shared focus of – I can’t think of a better word than reverence. Speeches by David Blunkett and ...


Dmitri Levitin: The Islamic Enlightenment, 22 November 2018

The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenment 
by Alexander Bevilacqua.
Harvard, 340 pp., £25.95, February 2018, 978 0 674 97592 7
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The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle between Faith and Reason 
by Christopher de Bellaigue.
Vintage, 404 pp., £10.99, February 2018, 978 0 09 957870 3
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... example, in his recent book Enlightenment Now); others – religious opponents of secularisation (Alasdair MacIntyre), or Marxist critics of liberal modernity (Theodor Adorno) – are more condemnatory. The second conception is typically held by historians, who have largely abandoned grand narratives of the Enlightenment. As they see it, the evidence is ...


Alexander Nehamas, 22 May 1986

Contest of Faculties: Philosophy and Theory after Deconstruction 
by Christopher Norris.
Methuen, 247 pp., £16, November 1985, 0 416 39939 8
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Philosophical Profiles 
by Richard Bernstein.
Polity, 313 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 7456 0226 6
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Against Theory: Literary Studies and the New Pragmatism 
edited by W.J.T. Mitchell.
Chicago, 146 pp., £12.75, November 1985, 0 226 53226 7
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... on authors ranging from Dewey and Heidegger to Arendt and Marcuse to Habermas, Gadamer, Rorty, Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor. Bernstein is a good reader, a master of what, with deference to Hegel, he calls ‘immanent critique’: the effort to determine the internal structure and coherence of an author’s views, to determine what to preserve ...

Who are the spongers now?

Stefan Collini, 21 January 2016

Fulfilling Our Potential: Teaching Excellence, Social Mobility and Student Choice 
Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, November 2015, 978 1 4741 2492 8Show More
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... In​  After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (1981), Alasdair MacIntyre raised the disquieting possibility that what we take to be ‘the’ language of morality now amounts to little more than a collection of verbal remains – husks from which the kernels of coherent moral beliefs have long since been removed ...

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