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DOI 10.12887/31-2018-3-123-15

Anna KRAJEWSKA− The Narrative Subject or the Person? Alasdair MacIntyre’s Concept of the Moral Subject

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The aim of the article is to present and criticize Alasdair MacIntyre’s concept of the narrative subject as a moral subject. In his discussion of the moral subject, the author of After Virtue rejects the category of the person, replacing it with that of the narrative subject. According to MacIntyre, it is the narrative that enables an adequate grasp of who the moral subject is, as it integrates the life of an individual with his or her history and relationships with his or her community. Thus MacIntyre’s understanding of the moral subject is related to social roles adopted by the subject. In the paper, drawing on the analyses by Karol Wojtyła and Robert Spaemann, I defend the philosophical relevance and explanatory usefulness of the concept of the person for an appropriate understanding of the moral subject and his or her actions.

The most important argument against the narrative concept of the moral subject indicates that the concept in question does not adequately grasp the efficacy of the human being. The category of narrative does not reflect the continuity of the foundation of the subject’s acts. To generate an act, an agent must comprise an ontological substrate, i.e. must be a substance in the ontological sense. To explain human efficacy basing on the data of experience it is necessary to posit the moral subjectivity that is ‘thicker’ than narrative subjectivity. This durable foundation of the subject’s efficacy is better expressed by the concept of the person which combines the substantial (ontological) aspect with that of consciousness. Who the moral subject is depends on the ontological separateness and uniqueness of the human self rather than on an individual biographical narrative.

 Translated by Patrycja Mikulska

 Keywords: narrative, narrative subject, social role, moral practices, virtue, person, efficacy, self-awareness, moral subjectivity, interpersonal relation, the nature of an act

Contact: Chair of Applied Ethics, Institute of Philosophy, Faculty of Philosophy, John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Al. Racławickie 14, 20-950 Lublin, Poland
E-mail: anna.krajewska@op.pl

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» 123_Krajewska.pdf

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887