This paper has four parts. The first part gives an overview of Alasdair MacIntyre’s theory of rationality; the remaining three parts examine the theory’s implications through the consideration of three examples. Two examples, the reception of MacIntyre’s mature work and the study of Thomas Aquinas’s Five Ways, illustrate the implications of MacIntyre’s theory for reading and interpreting contemporary literature and historical texts. A third example, the investigation of late medieval nominalism, shows how the more straightforward problems of reading and interpreting can be exacerbated during periods of transition within traditions. Traditions, it turns out, can be fragile, yet once broken they are capable of concealing their incoherence and inconsistency from their current and future scholars. If MacIntyre’s theory that rationality is both tradition-constituted and tradition-constitutive is truthful, it follows that the work of contemporary reading, traditional interpretation, and historical scholarship always requires careful attention to differences in rationalities, lest readers misinterpret by filling gaps in their readings with their own presuppositions
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DOI 10.5840/acpq201492234
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