Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues

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Open Court Publishing, 1999 - Philosophy - 172 pages
In Dependent Rational Animals, Alasdair MacIntyre compares humans to other intelligent animals, ultimately drawing remarkable conclusions about human social life and our treatment of those whom he argues we should no longer call "disabled." MacIntyre argues that human beings are independent, practical reasoners, but they are also dependent animals who must learn from each other in order to remain largely independent. To flourish, humans must acknowledge the importance of dependence and independence, both of which are developed in and through social relationships. This requires the development of a local community in which individuals discover their own "goods" through the discovery of a common Good.


Title Page Preface
Vulnerability dependence animality
Humans as contrasted with humane as included in the clasps of animals
The intelligence of dolphins
Can animals without language have beliefs?
How impoverished is the world of the nonhuman animal?
Reasons for action
Vulnerability flourishing goods and good
How do we become independent practical reasoners? How do
Social relationships practical reasoning common goods
The virtues of acknowledged dependence
The political and social structured of the common good
Proxies friends truthfulness
Moral commitment and rational enquiry
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About the author (1999)

Although he is most widely known for his book "After Virtue" (1981), with its critique of reason and ethics, Alasdair MacIntyre writes in other areas of philosophy as well, including philosophical psychology, political theory, and philosophy of religion. Born in Scotland, he was educated at Manchester, London, and Oxford universities. In 1969, he went to the United States where he has taught at Brandeis, Boston, and Vanderbilt universities. Since 1988, when he also delivered the Gifford lectures, MacIntyre has taught at the University of Notre Dame. "After Virtue" is one of the most widely discussed of all recent books on moral philosophy. It is the culmination of MacIntyre's deep engagement with the history of ethics. In it he argues that modern ethical theory, as it has developed since the seventeenth century, has been exposed by Friedrich Nietzsche as conceptually bankrupt. To find an alternative, he looks to ancient Greece and especially to Aristotle's concept of virtue. Although his critics consider this alternative to be something of an impossible dream, MacIntyre argues that it is central to a recovery of ethics.

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