Reasoning from a Tradition–Constituted Ground: MacIntyre’s Criticisms of Liberalism
Eskandari, Marzieh 1984-
MacIntyre’s tradition–constituted account of rationality is part of a fresh approach to rationality in the twentieth century lead by Thomas Kuhn. Yet the scope and extension of MacIntyre’s account of rationality, as well as its focus on practical areas such as morality and justice, have distinguished it from similar accounts. In this work, I shall explain and defend MacIntyre’s account of rationality and its implications for justice in contrast to the account endorsed by liberalism in general, and Rawlsian liberalism in particular. In the first chapter, I illustrate his account of rationality by sketching the lines of interdependence that MacIntyre draws between sixteenth and seventeenth century Scottish social, cultural, economic, and political convictions, practices, and institutions on one hand, and modes of comprehension and justification for factual belief and right action on the other. I will show that this sketch supports MacIntyre’s view of rationality against liberal rationality in two key ways: first, his historical narration clashes with what has been presented as historical evidence for the liberal tenet of reasonable pluralism, and secondly, his understanding of history supports the essentially tradition–bound nature of understanding and justification. After specifying tradition–constituted rationality in contrast to universal rationality, in Chapter Two, I discuss and defend the criticisms that MacIntyre makes of liberal rationality and justice. These criticisms, I shall argue, are developed from outside of the dominant liberal discourse, and thus address and undermine the basic principles of liberalism. Such a confrontation of MacIntyre with liberalism brings out the meta–philosophical nature of their views of rationality. Two contesting views of rationality are parts of incompatible traditions adoption of which cannot be based on some impartial purely theoretical principles. Such a view of rationality, as I shall argue, is entailed by MacIntyre’s tradition–constituted account of rationality and involves a relativism that MacIntyre is unable to circumvent.
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeRegnier, Daniel; Buschert, Will; Hibbert, Neil; Hudson, Rob
Copyright DateJuly 2016