Wednesday, December 20, 2017
In “After Virtue,” (1981) the Scottish philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre argues that Western civilization had lost its ability to think coherently about moral life. The problem was the Enlightenment, which put individuals in charge of deciding for themselves what was right and wrong. This, MacIntyre thought, rendered moral language meaningless. Try to say that something is “good,” and you end up saying only that it’s “good (to me)”—whatever that means. It becomes impossible to settle moral questions (…) the best we can do is agree to disagree. Such a world falls into the hands of managers and technocrats, who excel at the perfection of means but lack the tools with which to think deeply about ends.*
Wow : 1981! Prophetic words indeed. But how do we survive this new age of darkness, MacIntyre asks. And this is where we must part ways with him. By ‘we’ I mean those who are cognizant of the profound ethical crisis in which humanity finds itself. What ‘we’ must do is to find ways to think deeply and critically about what it means to be in the world and whether and if it is possible to be in the world in a radically different way.
Let’s begin by asking, what does the world, which we are being in, want from us?
This is our work.