Lear on MacIntyre
Happy New Year! University of Chicago polymath Jonathan Lear has an intelligent review essay in the London Review of Books (subscription required, Nov. 2, 2006) on a recent two volume collection of essays by Alasadair MacIntyre, a colleague at Notre Dame and Commonweal contributor.
Lear admires MacIntyre’s work enormously, and its coherence over the past thirty years. But he worries that the “small communities which share a sense of the common good ” called for by MacIntyre are “often repositories for unexamined prejudice, scapegoating, bullying and ressentiment.”
He also quotes a lovely MacIntyre pair of sentences on the intellectual life:
“It is characteristic of human beings that, whatever our culture, we desire to know and to understand, that we cannot but set ourselves the achievement of truth as a goal. and among the truths to which we aspire truth about the human good is of particular importance. We move towards that truth by asking what, if anything, the meaning of our lives is, what place suffering has in our lives, and whether or not death is the terminus of those lives.”