The task of this chapter is to give a general account of Alasdair MacIntyre's views in moral philosophy. This would be a difficult task to carry out in the short space allowed for any major moral philosopher, but there are well-known reasons why it is even more formidable for MacIntyre. MacIntyre has been publishing important work in moral philosophy for over half a century, and in the early years of the new millennium he shows no signs of slowing down. His views in ethics have changed in important respects during this period and they continue to develop, sometimes in surprising ways. These difficulties in interpreting MacIntyre are compounded by the fact that he does not neatly separate his work in ethics from his work in action theory, philosophy of language, and philosophy of the social sciences. And, notoriously, his systematic views in ethics are developed against the background of a rich and controversial account of the history of ethics. Moreover, his work in ethics has engaged in a number of different ways most of the large-scale cultural developments in the last half century, including especially the cold war conflicts between Marxism and liberalism, the cultural turmoil of the sixties, and radical changes within the Roman Catholic Church (of which he has been a member since the 1980s).
These characteristics of MacIntyre's views, however, should not be exaggerated. Although his views have developed in important ways, there are a number of themes that have not changed. Indeed, it will be part of the thesis of this chapter that the continuities in MacIntyre's ethical thought are more important than the changes in it.
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