📰 Book Review: After Virtue
Author: Scott Alexander
Full Title: Book Review: After Virtue
I propose as the solution some form of Utilitarianism, the only moral theory in which everything is commensurable and so there exists a single determinable standard for deciding among different moral claims.
In the entire book, MacIntyre doesn’t give a single example of Virtue Ethics being used to solve a moral dilemma, as indeed it cannot be.
I don’t like deontology. In fact, I dislike it more than almost anyone I know except maybe Federico. But I will give credit where credit is due: deontology actually comes up with solutions to moral problems. The solutions are wildly incorrect and incredibly harmful, but they get a gold star for effort.
Virtue Ethics, as far as I can tell, just gives you a knowing look and says “The very fact that you interpret morality in terms of moral dilemmas is a symptom of the disease of liberal Modernity.” This is useful for sounding deeply wise, but little else.
“Your decadent individualist mind has no idea how disappointed Aristotle would be in you for even asking that. Did you even consider just being a virtuous city-state in which everyone is a great-minded soul acting for the good of the polis? I didn’t think so.”
But the thing is that MacIntyre is considered one of the greatest living philosophers, and 📙 After Virtue one of the century’s greatest works on ethics. Just on priors I’m more likely to be misunderstanding him than he is to be talking nonsense.
I am really sorry, Virtue ethicists. But you are going to have to do better than this if you want me to understand you.