MacIntyre’s Restoration of Rationality: The Essence of Human Nature Is Reason

  • Steven A. Stolz
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)


One of the primary tasks of a philosopher is to engage with problems, and in turn offer potential solutions to them. Unsurprisingly, problems engaged with can pre-date philosophers, and can sometimes take on a life of its own that is independent to the philosopher. Of course, philosophy can be more than understanding problems, however, in this chapter I have turned to MacIntyre’s concern with the role of reason in human agency, particularly the restoration of rationality. To some, they may be wondering: What is at stake in MacIntyre’s arguments put forward regarding rational human agency? According to MacIntyre, philosophical discourse has shown that actions cannot have causes, and as a result demonstrates that a good deal of the human sciences is gravely confused because scientists continue to offer-up causal explanations of human action. Indeed, these type of explanations have done a disservice to any notion of rationality in human agency because it overlooks human freedom, responsibility, and the possibility of successful interventions to alter my actions. If we hold that the essence of human agency is reason, then the ramifications for educational systems are significant because anything worthy to be called an education necessitates the cultivation of reason and rationality. This is why MacIntyre’s restoration of rationality is so important to education because it provides the resources to explain rational human action, particularly practical rationality. In turn, MacIntyre’s account of rationality establishes a publically shared framework for explaining rational human agency that is suitable for judging rational human action, but also the means in which it can be cultivated and fostered in educational systems. Subsequently, for the purposes of this chapter I be concerned with the discussion of the following: first, I provide a critique of MacIntyre’s theory of human action; and, lastly I sketch-out MacIntyre’s account of rationality and how social science can assist in its explanation.


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Copyright information

© Steven A. Stolz 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.La Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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