Moreover the goods and goals of both practices will

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Unformatted text preview: ition of military practice in CEU eTD Collection the other, in the case of the Wingrave family. In the beginning of this chapter I have already established that these two traditions are closely intermingled, but they are still two essentially different traditions whose goods and goals may coincide, but may also conflict. This can be easily established if we would compare this family with a military tradition, with Macintyre’s favorite example of the family farm. In the latter initiation into the the practice of family life will at the same time be an initiation into the practice of farming. Moreover, the goods and goals of both practices will be discussed on the same level and among the same participants – the members of the family farm. However in the former example, we see that there is no such 24 coextension. The goods and goals of the military practice are not, and for obvious reasons can not be deliberated upon on the level of an individual family40. Where, then, are they supposed to be deliberated upon? Certainly not on the level of the army as an institution, and especially not in its XIX-century-England form. Then where? The obvious answer would have to be, on the level of the political community. But, again, XIX century England certainly did not present the kind of community in which such a matter could be a subject of deliberation, and indeed, as Macintyre would argue, no modern state could be such a community, for the modern state is not a bearer of a tradition of practice. It might at times pretend to be such a community, but indeed is not, the point that I will later discuss in more detail. Second, Owen’s claim is not put in a way which would allow it to be discussed in the terms of a practice. However, I am inclined to argue that this is due to the fact that the very tradition of the practices he belongs to do not provide him with any resources to do so. The Wingrave family is unable to discuss the goods and goals of its own family practice since it is based on an essential confusion – and that is that its own tradition is the tradition of the army, and hence that no separation between the two can be made. 41 To be a male member of the Wingrave family, according to them, means to have good reason to join the army. But to be a Wingrave means also other things, which they are not ready to consider and compare with the CEU eTD Collection former. For instance, to be a male member of the Wingrave family, may indeed mean that there is a good reason to be a good father to one’s children, and to be a good father means to 40 In his story, James describes an attempt of such a discussion, which quickly ends in failure, between Owen Wingrave and his trainer Spencer Coyle: “‘But what do you propose instead of it?’ ‘Instead of what?’ ‘Instead the stupid solution of war. If you take that away you should suggest at least a substitute.’ ‘That’s for the people in charge, for governments and cabinets,’ said Owen Wingrave. ‘They’ll arrive soon enough at a substitute, in the particular case, if they’re made to understand tha...
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