My friend Charles Badoian posted a quote on FaceBook that reminded me of one of my favorite political and moral philosophers, Alasdair MacIntyre. I stumbled upon “After Virtue” in the mid-1980s at The Tattered Cover, one of my favorite bookstores in Denver. In 2001, when the Twin Towers were coming down I was in Tokyo reading, “Dependent Rational Animals”.
I was more mystical when I was younger. In the 70’s and 80’s I was perusing typical contemporary spiritualist works (even reading Rajneesh and Crowley) hovering between the remnants of Beatnik intellectual adventurism, hippiedom, Renaissance fairs, psychedelic experimentation, a sense of abandonment and alienation, the Maoist bookstore in San Francisco, existentialism, Situationist urban walks, my Irish Catholic background and my inevitable journey towards secular humanism via skepticism and a new appreciation for science brought about by a lucky run in with the Exploratorium while at film school. (Oh God, after having read that last sentence I feel so damn fortunate.)
One can never have his own philosophy without thoroughly understanding the philosophy of others. All sides must be absorbed in order to navigate towards some better outcome. Life extension would surely help. It is not the books on the shelf that you've read that matter, but rather, all the books absent from your shelves. And, of course, all the time required to read them that’s absent from your future. (I believe I got the paraphrased line about absent books from Taleb. Even the most pompous intellectual can still be of some use.)
Philosophical dialogues throughout history have always been one of my favorite communities. Philosophical dialogues as a community? Can I say that? Perhaps only in the absence of a community where such dialogues exist.
Nurturing positive inquiry in the context of great minds, past or present, is a noble pastime. I wish humanity valued philosophy as much as we value entertainment, money, power and recognition.
He has written extensively on the history of philosophy as well. His works on Aristotle are profound.