MacIntyre on the Failure of Enlightenment Morality I. The Catastrophe Parable: Chapter 1 A. Imagine a world in which mature natural science has experienced a catastrophic breakdown. The aftermath: clash between different fragments, none of which is coherently understood. B. MacIntyre's claim: this has happened in the realm of morality, with the collapse of the Aristotelian-Biblical synthesis at the end of the medieval period. II. The Enlightenment Project A. The category of "morality" is created in the modern era. Historically moralis/ethikos concerned character, practical virtue. (38) B. Pre-modern ethics characterized by two elements: 1. Teleological account of nature (Aristotle's Nicomachean ethics). A contrast between man-as-he-happens-to-be and man-as-he-could-be-if-he-realized-his-essential-nature. Human beings (like other organisms) have built-in natural ends, purposes. Man is a a functional concept (58) 2. The binding power of Divine law. This is not separated from teleology, but integrated
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