Authors. Alasdair MacIntyre. University of Notre Dame. Follow. Abstract. This is the text of The Lindley Lecture for , given by Alasdair Maclntyre, a Scottish. Patriotism, on this view, is essential for living a morally good life. MacIntyre’s argument (in his Lindley Lecture, “Is Patriotism a Virtue?. 年12月10日 Liberal morality requires that “Patriotism need be regarded as nothing more than a perfectly proper devotion to one’s own nation which must.

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Gary Gutting reflects this Fourth of July on the x of patriotismwhich is grounded in a kind of in-group loyalty at odds with moral theories that require that we treat all human beings equally, regardless of whether we are part of the same family, tribe, or nation. Alasdair MacIntyre, for example, argues that morality is rooted in the life of a specific real community — a village, a city, a nation, with its idiosyncratic customs and history — and that, therefore, adherence to morality requires loyalty to such a community.

Patriotism, on this view, is essential for living a morally good life. For Aristotle, what is good for human beings are certain end-states toward which we naturally tend. These end-states perfect or fully actualize some set of dispositions, some potentiality.

Just as an acorn will tend to develop toward an end that actualizes its full potential Oak treehuman beings strive to function well in a way that is appropriate to human being. And some human beings will adopt ends that are at odds with their own nature: One set of dispositions is determined by the kind of thing they are — by their human nature; the other by something particular to them, based on their idiosyncratic development.

Insofar as John belongs to the type serial killeror even the sui generis type John-the-Serial-Killerhe will have tendencies discordant with his nature.

This kind of conflict is at the heart of an Aristotelian account of morality: Likewise with the serial killer who has ceased to maciintyre human. As we have seen, our ends our determined by the type of beings we are. Kacintyre also belong to a certain family, profession, nation, and numerous other groups and activities. And these groups and activities structure viryue — alter the kind of being I am: MacIntyre expands the Aristotelian account along these lines: Chess virtuue have meant little to me until I started playing it: So the activities and practices into which we enter not only give us a certain set of skills, but a tendency to continue to perfect those skills.

Likewise, belonging to any sort of community will have the same sort of effect: Of course, one could give an Mxcintyre response to this Aristotelian defense of patriotism: Not every group is good for me.

Ultimately, I have to revert to my membership in some core natural kind — the human kind — to judge the appropriateness of the effects that practices and groups have on me.

They may give me dispositions that are at odds with my humanity and hence my happiness. vrtue

MacIntyre and the Morality of Patriotism

And of course, most cases are as extreme as this: So the question then becomes whether being American, Norwegian, or belonging to any other sort of group or practice, is ultimately good for us or bad when measured against ends defined by our humanity. And this leads us back to a conception of morality which, while still Pateiotism, seems consistent with the kind of enlightenment moral standpoint — a universal one — that MacIntyre has used Aristotle to argue against.

I find patriotism to be a function of macintyer unconscious shortsighted, cavedwelling instinctual fears that inhabit pariotism human mind actively ventriloquizing a disturbingly patrkotism segment of ia public. There is simply no reason for it, your birth in to any given nation is an entirely contingent circumstance.

Ethical commitments should be to emancipation for every person in the world unconditionally, as long as we are willing to admit we could have also been born in maxintyre any existing form of human subjugation, and with much larger odds than being born in to some decaying American suburb. The universal of our humanity might also only be a function of a certain kind of being an animal, or being living, and so you would have to compare your commitments with humanity to your commitments with all of life this would consist in the Peter Singer argument.


There is also no reason though that your being alive, is any more necessary than your being of organic matter, and here we can see that making ethical appeals to conventionally decided upon universals quickly breaks down. We lastly found however, that the being of organic matter, pqtriotism merely a necessary firtue of there being matter in general.

We can not assign human freedom in the form of an ks category because it is rapidly becoming apparent the world is not and never will be in any way for-us, our pitiful existence pales in comparison with its vast expanse, our consciousness is in many ways very similar to a rock lying on a windy plain being carved away by its environment, before whatever life or macjntyre follows each of us is inevitably vaporized by the expanding sun.

Freedom is only a certain sociopolitical situation that we might attain if we do not first go extinct. I think in this sense mavintyre are forced to deal with the existential problem of knowing we are always member to the wrong crowd, humanity must eventually consume not only large numbers of one another, but all other species, the planet, and of course much more implausibly the solar system, and all of the galaxies, as it desires to persist against all odds.

We have not been conducive to life for the large swaths of species that we have already caused to go extinct, and as ecological catastrophe develops, nature likewise does not seem in any way to care for our presence. The one thing I might point out is that this sounds like what Carl Schmitt used to criticize the English pluralists for- the failure to distinguish between political association and other forms of association.

I think it is right and true to say that on an Aristotelian account the groups we belong to can require our devotion, and that they shape us, but for both Aristotle and Schmitt political association is qualitatively different from, say, the chess league. In fact, most of book 1 of the Politics is dedicated to showing how politics is fundamentally different from other virfue of association.

We must remember this is the same MacIntyre who says: I do not believe in ideals or forms of community as a nostrum for contemporary social ills. I give my political loyalty to no program.

So we must be careful to distinguish patriotism as a virtue not only from nationalism, but from other senses in which it could also be interpreted. It amounts to an endorsement of provincialism and irrational attitudes of submission to tradition.


And these attitudes can and do quite easily turn ugly and hateful and warlike. The national anthem and the fourth of July are basically kabuki bomb theater, which tends to construe war as noble and even beautiful. Sorry for ranting and raving but, like I said, I find it a little virue. If I may, I think this is partly from the fact MacIntyre is patriotiism to his early period as a Marxist.

Problem is that we — people of the earth — may have a problem agreeing to what exactly the ends defined by our humanity might be, beyond perhaps empty generalizations that poorly serve as the unambiguous basis of globally shared ethics. And further problem is that political practices based on universalized human nature can lead to supremacist imperialism every bit as oppressive as parochial jingoism.

As such it does not privilege the Nation State, and certainly could not be used to justify the extreme Nationalism that one sees. As for the accusation of particularism: We are not transcendent. Thus, we have relationships with those around us — with our families and the communities we live in.


These relationships are greater than our bond with the rest of humanity, and therefore have greater sway. This is not to say that we are not concerned with the welfare of people around the world — virttue is a question of what weight do we give these concerns. For example, we are often more concerned about the structures of the tax systems in our own communities than in other communities, such as Afghanistan or Zambia. A universalist would, in principle, object to this but it is hard to argue since one could legitimately as what business of our is it to interfere in these relationships.

Another aspect of the Aristotelian ethics is that virtue lies in the middle. Thus, extreme Patriotism is wrong vrtue it disregards the rest of the world, and no Patriotism is wrong because it disregards the local community. What weight do you give to the concern that if we continue with our historically short-sighted individualistic ways we certainly will not be able to meet the global ecological and economic catastrophes that our world is presently suffering from?

Patriotism (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

Really it seems that only more and more authoritarian regimes will be able to meet these urgent demands, and isolated individuals or small communities will have no way to respond to them but to comply. If you think you are, dont worry—nature will have the last laugh on you whether it is ashes or dirt.

Wait what does that even have to do with anything I wrote? If nature as you have anthropomorphized it finds death to be amusing for some reason then I assure you I am very much apart from it in that sense at least. Your summary lends itself to a nature vs nurture provocation.

I think most people who reflect may take at some point in their life a stance of philosophic indifference or neutrality but they themselves are grounded by institutions. Institutions and traditions and culture for better or worse are the grounds for self.

The valuing of your own values over different ones does not necessarily lead to a particular attitude towards outsiders. If you do think your values, for example those of western liberal democracy, are macintyfe best at hand despite their flaws, feelings of universalized sympathy towards others might lead you to want to spread those values. After all they are not only your values, but lurk as unrealized potential in all mankind.

Your email address will not be published. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. He notes that Alasdair MacIntyre has given a defense of patriotism: Comments I find patriotism to be a function of the unconscious shortsighted, cavedwelling instinctual fears that inhabit the human mind actively ventriloquizing a disturbingly large segment of the public.

Thanks for the cool post! Feser is the go to man on telos, but not madintyre much on science. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.

MacIntyre and the Morality of Patriotism

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