London Metropolitan University Research Institutes

Alasdair MacIntyre's Revolutionary Aristotelianism: Ethics, Resistance and Utopia

For more than half a century Alasdair MacIntyre has remained a fervent critic of the structural injustices of capitalism. Indeed, nothing could be further from the truth than the all too frequent mischaracterisation of his mature ethical thought as a form of communitarian conservatism. From Marxism: An Interpretation through his essays for the New and Trotskyist lefts of the 1950s and 1960s to After Virtue and subsequent texts, MacIntyre has attempted to articulate and defend a form of politics that is adequate to the needs of radical opponents of liberalism in our modern world.

In his recent works, MacIntyre has attacked the contradiction between the Aristotelian idea of people as they could be if they realised their telos and, on the other hand, capitalism's systematic thwarting of people's abilities to reach their potentials. To this he has added that radicals need to articulate a 'politics of self-defence' rooted in practices that challenge the instrumental reasoning of state bureaucracy and capitalist management.

MacIntyre's thought constitutes a challenge to a range of ideologies hostile to the Aristotelian tradition. His adoption of Thomistic thought, along with his emphasis on virtue ethics, has provided the foundation for a much needed re-examination of the sources of moral and political philosophy. His commitment to realism highlights relativism's limits and contests the idea that morality and politics are matters of mere social consensus. As he says in prefacing Ethics and Politics, 'theoretical resources ... from Aristotle, Aquinas, and Marx, need to be put to work both in negative critique and in articulating the goods and goals of particular political and social projects'.

It is the view of the organisers of this conference that MacIntyre's ethics of human flourishing, politics of resistance and practical utopianism contribute powerfully to the contemporary resurgence of radical politics. It is with a view to exploring these revolutionary implications of MacIntyre's work that we welcome contributions to a conference on the importance of his ideas.

Keynote speakers:

  • Alasdair MacIntyre, Notre Dame University
  • Alex Callinicos, Professor of European Studies, King's College London
  • Timothy Chappell, Professor of Philosophy, The Open University
  • Russell Keat, Emeritus Professor of Political Theory, University of Edinburgh
  • Anton Leist, Professor of Practical Philosophy, University of Zürich
  • Cary J. Nederman, Professor of Political Science, Texas A & M University
  • Sean Sayers, Professor of Philosophy, University of Kent 

Other speakers include:

  • Paul Blackledge, co-editor of Alasdair MacIntyre's Marxist Writings, 2007.
  • Neil Davidson, co-editor of Alasdair MacIntyre's Marxist Writings, 2007
  • Kelvin Knight, author of Aristotelian Philosophy: Ethics and Politics from Aristotle to MacIntyre, 2007.
  • Christopher Lutz, author of Tradition in the Ethics of Alasdair MacIntyre: Relativism, Thomism, and Philosophy, 2004.
  • Peter McMylor, author of Alasdair MacIntyre: Critic of Modernity, 1994
  • Emile Perreau-Saussine, author of Alasdair MacIntyre, une biographie intellectuelle: Introduction aux critiques contemporaines du libéralisme, 2005 

Conference Organisers

Prof Andrius Bielskis, Dr Paul Blackledge, Prof Bill Bowring, Dr Alan Haworth, Richard Kirkwood, Dr Kelvin Knight, Dr Seiriol Morgan, Dr Mohammad Nafissi, Selsela Naweed, Alberta Stevens, Ian Waller and Dr Wendy Wheeler

Conference Programme

Conference Programme.doc

Conference papers

Listed alphabetically by author's surname, where available, click on the paper title to access the paper.


Keynote speakers' Abstracts Keynote Speakers.pdf


Seminar speakers' Abstracts Seminar Speakers.pdf


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