Stepping Into the Present: MacIntyre's Modernity

Levy, Neil
September 1999
Social Theory & Practice;Fall99, Vol. 25 Issue 3, p471
Academic Journal
This article examines the concept of modernity by social theorist Alasdair MacIntyre. According to MacIntyre, modernity aimed to break the tradition by isolating rationality as such, and attempting to specify the judgments to which someone guided only by this rationality would assent, thereby freeing us from the hold of superstition. However, MacIntyre argues, there is no rationality outside of traditions, for there is now way of giving reasons that does not presuppose a system of beliefs. But in defending the notion that rationality is always internal to traditions, MacIntyre runs the risk of merely displacing relativism. In order to refute relativism, MacIntyre finds himself importing more and more of the pluralism of modern culture into his account of the rational tradition.


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