[percy-l] Re: WP and MacIntyre

Parlin, Steven PARLINS at culver.org
Sat Feb 22 15:43:47 EST 2003

At one time, these words --and others could be included here as well-- were
separate in meaning. Now they are all but indistinguishable (I suspect in
part due to the relatively recent rampage of "Nicespeak"). Not sure what
Percy would have to say about it, but I'm sure he'd have attributed it to
the word being evacuated of its meaning. 
Just thought, I'd share this. It came up in clas today. 
-----Original Message-----
From: Chad DePue [mailto:chad at wonkworld.com]
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2003 10:31 PM
To: percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [percy-l] Re: WP and MacIntyre
reading your "Theological Reflections on MacIntyre's After Virtue" essay on
the site below gave rise to a few questions as to how Percy and Alasdair
MacIntyre intersect. I'd like to ask both you and the list if there is a
connection between the philosophies of the two writers and if so, how? 
My initial thoughts (and i have not finished After Virtue but have read
enough to know where he's headed) are that MacIntyre sees our ethical crisis
as precipitated by predominately external events - ie the 'cataclysm' of the
last 300 years that has fractured our language and vocabularly such that we
are like kids dressed up as doctors attempting to perform 'surgery',
throwing around 'adult' words and concepts that have lost their meaning and
that we have no chance of understanding. Here he's talking about scientists
in a hypothetical culture after some sort of world-war-inducing-cataclysm:
"In such a culture men would use expressions such as "neutrino", and "mass",
specific gravity", "atomic mass" in systematic and often interrelated ways
which would resemble in lesser or greater degrees the ways in which such
expressions had been used in earlier times before scientific knowledge had
been largely lost. But many of the beliefs presupposed by the use of these
expressions would have been lost and there would appear to be an element of
arbitrariness and even of choice in their application which would appear
surprising to us."
Yet Percy sees this ethical dilemma as more internal - a loss of existential
identity. We are not so much using tools we don't understand as focusing on
our great successes in science and technology, which gives us the vague yet
hauntingly empty feeling of 'progress' while our souls and our humanity
I quoted MacIntye from After Virtue here (taken from your article). I'd love
the list to comment on how this fits into Percy's views on language and our
ethical and theological crisis. Also, to those who haven't read the first
chapter of After Virtue, i'm not doing it justice. 
----- Original Message ----- 

From: Peter  <mailto:sellick at bigpond.net.au> Sellick 
To: percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org <mailto:percy-l at lists.ibiblio.org>  
Sent: Thursday, February 06, 2003 12:33 PM
Subject: [percy-l] WP and Fukyama
This article is only obliquely about WP but I thought it might interest the
list members.
Revd. Dr. Peter Sellick,
Personal Page: http://users.bigpond.net.au/sellick
37 Weld St. Nedlands WA 6009.
08 93868907
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