MacIntyre's early writings include a series of books and papers, primarily published from the late fifties to the early seventies (Unconscious, Short History, Marxism and Christianity, Self-Images; and MacIntyre 1957a, 1960, 1962, 1965c, 1966a, 1967a, 1967b, 1967c, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1974), but continuing throughout his career (1977a, 1978a, 1978b), in the ill-defined domain of the philosophy of social science. A number of other writings (1986a, 1986b, 1991d, 1994f), including After Virtue, rely in various ways on social science concepts, and a final category of writing includes a long series of book reviews of social science and social theory texts and concepts (1978d, 1979a, 1979b, 1979c, 1995c, 1998b). One view of the cluster of early papers is that they are juvenilia that have little to do with the phase of his work that begins with the publication of After Virtue. Yet this argument does not square very well with the fact that MacIntyre never stopped writing papers of this kind, or the fact that he continues to refer to the inspiration of such figures as the anthropologist Franz B. Steiner, or the fact that MacIntyre continues to describe his project in social science terms such as “social structure.” Nor does it square with the actual content of the notion of tradition as practice, which, as he develops it, is a social theory in which the traditional concerns of identity, selfhood, and intelligibility are understood in terms of social interaction (especially 1986a and 1986b).
Many of the key issues that the later papers address are contained in his 1962 paper “A Mistake about Causality in Social Science,” which, I will show, was an important seed bed for his later thought.
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