Maclntyre presents an account of the virtues first in terms of practices and then in terms of the narrative unity of a person’s life. He fails, however, to observe an important distinction between self-contained and purposive practices; if the virtues are to be understood by reference to practices, they must be of the latter kind. By the same token, a defence of the virtues must refer to the social purposes which practices serve rather than to the goods internal to practices. An appeal to the idea of narrative unity does not save the position in the absence of any concrete specification of the good life for man. Maclntyre’s attempt to reconstitute the virtues falls foul of the moral pluralism that he has earlier diagnosed so acutely.
© 1984 by Lucius & Lucius, Stuttgart