Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1981. First edition. Tall octavo, original maroon cloth, original dust jacket. Book fine, dust jacket with a trace of edge-wear and typical toning to top of front panel, spine and flap folds. An excellent copy of a scarce book. Item #660
"FOR THE MODERN RADICAL IS AS CONFIDENT IN THE MORAL EXPRESSION OF HIS STANCES AND CONSEQUENTLY IN THE ASSERTIVE USES OF THE RHETORIC OF MORALITY AS ANY CONSERVATIVE HAS EVER BEEN" First American edition of Alasdair MacIntyre's widely influential treatise, a modern classic of moral philosophy. "One of the most powerful and seemingly lasting philosophical voices of the last quarter of the twentieth century—Catholic or not—was significantly, a convert. Alasdair MacIntyre passed through several philosophical phases including Marxism before writing the book that began a truly fresh current in Catholic thought and became in fact one of the most influential philosophical projects of the second half of the twentieth century, even in secular circles" (Robert Royal, A Deeper Vision). MacIntyre describes an Aristotelian thesis of the essential unity of the virtues which served as a practical common morality. These virtues were revised and expanded by the Church in the Middle Ages so that "the virtues are then on this kind of medieval view [of] those qualities which enable men to survive evils on their historical journey." MacIntyre explores the full (and perhaps unexpected) range and variety of medieval thinking on the virtues before moving on to what he calls "the Enlightenment Project." The humanistic values of the Enlightenment birthed an increasingly fluid and distorted secular morality which has steadily fragmented over time, leaving contemporary society adrift "after virtue." MacIntyre's work gained renewed attention when Rod Drehr used the concluding chapter as inspiration for "The Benedict Option" (2017), describing a scenario where Christians, caught in the midst of an increasingly relativistic and individualist secular society, look to withdraw into a traditionalist subculture. "We are waiting not for a Godot, but for another—doubtless very different—St. Benedict." With a bibliography of "works directly referred to or quoted in the text" and an index. Published in the same year as the first British edition, in a dust jacket designed by Richard Allen and Peg Carney Luecke.