The Tasks of Philosophy: Volume 1: Selected Essays by Alasdair MacIntyre

By Alasdair MacIntyre

How may still we reply whilst a few of our easy ideals are placed into query? What makes a human physique distinctively human? Why is fact an immense strong? those are one of the questions explored during this selection of essays by means of Alasdair MacIntyre, some of the most inventive and influential philosophers operating this present day. Ten of MacIntyre's so much influential essays written over virtually thirty years are accrued jointly right here for the 1st time. they vary over such issues because the concerns raised by means of kinds of relativism, what it's approximately humans that can not be understood by means of the usual sciences, the connection among the ends of existence and the ends of philosophical writing, and the connection of ethical philosophy to modern social perform. they'll attract quite a lot of readers throughout philosophy and particularly in ethical philosophy, political philosophy, and theology.

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Moreover there is some reason to believe that this position on possibility may be closer to that presupposed by Wittgenstein than that of either McGinn or Malcolm. 13 Malcolm interprets Wittgenstein’s question: “Could there be only one human being that calculated? Could there be only one that followed a rule? ”14 So each converts a question into a thesis. But perhaps all that we are capable of when the conceptual imagination has been stretched to this point by this type of case are questions, unanswerable questions.

Nonetheless as we and other speakers extend our range of uses beyond these initial examples, we do so in a rule-governed way which gives evidence of common adherence to one and the same set of linguistic rules in terms of which we order our diverse experiences of color. What can be learned can of course always be mislearned. But what is mislearned is what can be corrected and it is in subjecting our judgments to correction by others, through admitting the force of one or more of the types of explanation invoked to explain and to resolve our disagreements with those others – particularly when those disagreements threaten our cooperative participation in those shared activities which require agreement in judgments concerning color – that we assent to the distinction between what color objects are and what color they seem to me to be in these circumstances, and so to standards of truth and falsity in judgments concerning what color objects are.

I shall then argue that it is his failure to recognize the true character of the flaws in his earlier formulations which leads to the weakness of his later revisions. Finally I shall suggest a more adequate form of revision. What Kuhn originally presented was an account of epistemological crises in natural science which is essentially the same as the Cartesian account of epistemological crises in philosophy. This account was superimposed on a view of natural science which seems largely indebted to the writings of Michael Polanyi (Kuhn nowhere acknowledges any such debt).

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