Reading Notes Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (part 8, Thomas)

With Thomas Aquinas we have the enfolding of the Aristotelean system into the Augustinian. We have the enfolding of a system that holds that justice and rationality requiring education in virtue into system that posits that the demands of justice are in some way self-evident to all human beings, even in a fallen state and that our ...

Reading Notes Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (part 7, Augustine)

For Aristotle justice belonged to the polis. For Augustine, justice was for all. This is largely because of the differences in the way their respective traditions conceived of boundaries. For Aristotle the city-state was the basic political unit. It set the boundaries of justice. For Augustine the Christian “the earth is the Lord’s and everything ...

Reading Notes Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (part 6, Aristotle)

Aristotelean justice requires the polis and a citizenry educated in virtue. The Aristotelean project is a search for absolute justice embodied in the ideal polis, and progress toward this ideal is made in particular polises with their relative standards of justice. Given the importance of a citizenry educated in virtue in the just ordering of ...

Reading Notes of Which Justice? Whose Rationality? by Alasdair MacIntyre (part 5)

Plato advocated for the goods of excellence, but defining those goods and what they looked like in practice was a job he left unfinished. It was his student Aristotle who was to complete Plato’s project and give the goods of excellence there classic articulation. MacIntyre summarizes his work thus far, Two dominant images of human ...

Reading Notes on Theology and Social Theory by John Milbank (part 4)

Milbank now turns from the French stream of sociology culminating in Durkheim to the German stream culminating in Max Weber –  he who gave us the myth of the “Protestant work ethic.” For Durkheim social structures explained everything, the Germans sought to bring individual acting subjects back into the picture. For Weber the question was ...

Reading Notes of Which Justice? Whose Rationality? by Alasdair MacIntyre (part 4)

For Thucydides the goods of effectiveness always trump the goods of excellence. Excellence will only carry the day insofar as the powerful decide that it is in their interest to do so toward effective ends. It is against this stance that the mature Plato argues. For Plato there can be no justice or rationality apart ...

Reading Notes on Theology and Social Theory by John Milbank (part 3)

Milbank moves on to lay out a genealogy of sociology, tracing its origins from Malenbranche to Durkheim. Secular social science faces a great connundrum: do humans construct society or does society construct humanity? A theological answer would be that both individuals and society are part of a created order and the order and our place ...

Reading Notes on Whose Justice? Which Rationality? by Alasdair MacIntyre (part 3)

Athens is the arena to which MacIntyre turns to examine the conflict between the competing justices and rationalities of excellence and effectiveness. Homer couldn’t imagine that there would ever be a conflict between the two, the Athenians proved otherwise. Athens held itself as a model of democracy, all Athenian citizens were treated equally, life within ...

Reading Notes on Whose Justice? Which Rationality? by Alasdair MacIntyre (part 2)

For MacIntyre those who inherited the Homeric canon were left with a dilemma regarding what constituted justice. Was it excellence, a justice founded upon a certain teleology toward which each person in their given station was supposed to work? Or was justice founded upon effectiveness, what works best for me? A justice founded on excellence ...

Reading Notes on Theology and Social Theory by John Milbank, part 2

Milbank’s argument continues that so-called secular social theory actually develops within a perverted Christian theological framework. What Milbank calls “the political economy” developed as a kind of theodicy to reconcile how individuals with their inherently selfish motives could corporately act toward the common good. Enter Hobbes and Adam Smith. In Hobbes the role of State ...