Advertisement

MacIntyre’s Restoration of Rationality: The Essence of Human Nature Is Reason

  • Steven A. Stolz
Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)

Abstract

One of the primary tasks of a philosopher is to engage with problems, and in turn offer potential solutions to them. Unsurprisingly, problems engaged with can pre-date philosophers, and can sometimes take on a life of its own that is independent to the philosopher. Of course, philosophy can be more than understanding problems, however, in this chapter I have turned to MacIntyre’s concern with the role of reason in human agency, particularly the restoration of rationality. To some, they may be wondering: What is at stake in MacIntyre’s arguments put forward regarding rational human agency? According to MacIntyre, philosophical discourse has shown that actions cannot have causes, and as a result demonstrates that a good deal of the human sciences is gravely confused because scientists continue to offer-up causal explanations of human action. Indeed, these type of explanations have done a disservice to any notion of rationality in human agency because it overlooks human freedom, responsibility, and the possibility of successful interventions to alter my actions. If we hold that the essence of human agency is reason, then the ramifications for educational systems are significant because anything worthy to be called an education necessitates the cultivation of reason and rationality. This is why MacIntyre’s restoration of rationality is so important to education because it provides the resources to explain rational human action, particularly practical rationality. In turn, MacIntyre’s account of rationality establishes a publically shared framework for explaining rational human agency that is suitable for judging rational human action, but also the means in which it can be cultivated and fostered in educational systems. Subsequently, for the purposes of this chapter I be concerned with the discussion of the following: first, I provide a critique of MacIntyre’s theory of human action; and, lastly I sketch-out MacIntyre’s account of rationality and how social science can assist in its explanation.

References

  1. Durkheim, E. (1951). Suicide: A study in sociology. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.Google Scholar
  2. Flew, A., & MacIntyre, A. (Eds.). (1955). New essays in philosophical theology. London: SCM Press.Google Scholar
  3. MacIntyre, A. (1957). Determinism. Mind, 66, 28–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. MacIntyre, A. (1960). Purpose and intelligent action [Supplementary Volumes]. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 34, 79–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. MacIntyre, A. (1962). A mistake about causality in the social sciences. In P. Laslett & W. Runciman (Eds.), Philosophy, politics and society (2nd series) (pp. 48–70). Oxford: Basil Blackwell.Google Scholar
  6. MacIntyre, A. (1966). The Antecedents of action. In B. Williams & A. Montefiore (Eds.), British analytical philosophy (pp. 205–225). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  7. MacIntyre, A. (1967). The idea of a social science. Aristotelian Society Supplement, 41, 95–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. MacIntyre, A. (1971a). Against the self-images of the age: Essays on ideology and philosophy. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  9. MacIntyre, A. (1971b). Rationality and the explanation of action. In A. MacIntyre (Ed.), Against the self-images of the age: Essays on ideology and philosophy (pp. 244–259). London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  10. MacIntyre, A. (1972a). Predictability and explanation in the social sciences. Philosophical Exchange, 1(3), 5–13.Google Scholar
  11. MacIntyre, A. (1972b). Hegel: On faces and skulls. In A. MacIntyre (Ed.), Hegel: A Collection of critical essays (pp. 219–236). Garden City, New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  12. MacIntyre, A. (1973a). Ideology. Social science and revolution. Comparative politics, 5(3), 321–342.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. MacIntyre, A. (1973b). The essential contestability of some social concepts. Ethics, 86(1), 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. MacIntyre, A. (1979). Social science methodology as the ideology of bureaucratic authority. In M. Falco (Ed.), Through the looking glass: Epistemology and the conduct of enquiry (pp. 42–58). Washington, DC: University Press of America.Google Scholar
  15. MacIntyre, A. (1986). The intelligibility of action. In J. Margolis, M. Krausz, & R. M. Burian (Eds.), Rationality, relativism and the human sciences (pp. 63–80). Dordrecht: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. MacIntyre, A. (1988). Whose justice? Which rationality?. London: Duckworth.Google Scholar
  17. Malinowski, J. (1952). The sexual life of savages in North-western Melanasia. London: Routledge & & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  18. Melden, A. (1961). Free action. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
  19. Ryle, G. (1949). The concept of mind. London, UK: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  20. Trevor-Roper, H. (1967). Religion, the reformation and social change, and other essays. London: MacMillan.Google Scholar
  21. Winch, P. (1958). The idea of a social science and its relation to philosophy. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Steven A. Stolz 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

Personalised recommendations