Alasdair MacIntyre, universities, and the common good

European Journal of Philosophy 30 (3):1173-1186 (2021)
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Best known as a political philosopher, Alasdair MacIntyre is also a critic of the modern university. The paper examines the grounds of MacIntyre's criticism of modern universities; it offers an assessment of the philosophical debate occasioned by MacIntyre's writings on the topic; and it proposes a way of taking this debate forward. The debate is shown to be centred around three objections to MacIntyre's normative idea of the university: that it is overly intellectualist, parochial, and moralizing. The merits of these objections are considered and a different interpretation of the normative core of MacIntyre's conception of the university is presented: realization and promotion of the common good. An analysis is offered of the kinds of common good universities may serve to realize, including practices internal to the institution, education of a public, and flourishing relationships in various social roles. The implications of this neo-Aristotelian analysis of the normative core of universities is also shown to be at odds with some of MacIntyre's explicitly stated views on the role of universities in forming an educated pubic and educating students for work.



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Author Profiles

Nicholas H Smith
University of Connecticut
Andrew Dunstall
Macquarie University

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References found in this work

Dependent Rational Animals. Why Human Beings need the Virtues.Alasdair Macintyre - 1999 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 191 (3):389-390.
Whose Justice? Which Rationality?Alasdair Macintyre - 1988 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 23 (3):242-247.

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