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The Heart of Anarchism: Innate Knowledge of Virtue Reconsidered

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Chapter Summary

This chapter looks at the idea of innate knowledge of virtue. Virtue is eternal and real for the ancients, but for Alasdair MacIntyre, who accepts substantially the negative conclusions of the logical positivists, virtue is to be employed in a new way. The variance between intelligible articulation and facts is an old one, substantially predating After Virtue. Although they employed different terminology, the logical positivists were well aware of it. Discussing logical positivist attacks on metaphysics, Charles Leslie Stevenson had in 1938 distinguished between "meaning" and "cognitive meaning", defining the latter as "empirically verifiable or else analytic". In a world of failed polities, unaccountable governments, mass poverty, chaos and constant war, bureaucracy, corruption, and domination of various political processes by greedy, unaccountable elites, maybe the inner voices are shouting that now must be the time, in the twentieth-first century, to reconsider the wisdom of anarchism.

Keywords: Alasdair MacIntyre; anarchism; Charles Leslie Stevenson; innate knowledge of virtue; mass poverty; unaccountable governments



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