Review by Dr Pravin Thevathasan
God, Philosophy, Universities
A Selective History Of The Catholic Philosophical Tradition
Sheed & Ward
Publisher's Book Information
In this work, MacIntyre provides readers with good reasons as to why universities ought to pursue truth for truth's
sake. He examines the early Catholic philosophical traditions including those of Augustine, Boethius and Anselm.
The various Jewish and Islamic philosophical traditions of the Middle Ages are considered and he notes that the
tradition reached its height with the synthesis achieved by Aquinas.
The rise of scepticism beginning with Descartes is then discussed. The revival of the Catholic philosophical tradition
proposed by Cardinal Newman, Edith Stein, Elizabeth Anscombe and Pope John Paul follows. Newman, of course, had
a great deal to say about universities himself and like Newman MacIntyre sees no conflict between theology and
philosophy. Philosophy seeks to clarify matters of faith.
MacIntyre believes that a unified conception of truth is increasingly rejected by the universities. This is because
metaphysics is rejected. Secularism has led to a break down between faith and reason and so philosophy and theology
are no longer core educational activities. They have become so marginalized and specialized that they are irrelevant
to the vast majority.
MacIntyre argues persuasively that philosophical reflection should be for all persons who desire to pursue truth
and not just for specialists.For example, science cannot fathom the purpose of existing things and to believe in
the intelligibility of the world is different to saying that everything can be understood by means of science.
Indeed, philosophy organizes all of the human sciences and without respect for philosophy, the universities are
going to continue to promote what can only be described as fragmented education.
MacIntyre has once again examined the really important questions of our age.
Copyright ©; Dr Pravin Thevathasan 2015
Version: 12th January 2015