MacIntyre, Milbank, & Sesame Street

Someone once said that everything you know you learned in Kindergarten.

Well I don’t know about that, but I did learn something in my Kindergarten years which has stuck with me for a long time: “Which of these things is not like the other?” is often a really good question to ask.

I realized last weekend while reading John Milbank on Alisdair MacIntrye that they answer this question differently when it comes to the following three things: classical antiquity’s virtue tradition of Plato & Aristotle, Christian theology, and the enlightenment ethics of modernity.

MacIntyre’s answer: the enlightenment ethics of modernity is the unique one of the three. Milbank: No, it is Christian theology.

Another way of putting this is that MacIntyre sees the classical antique tradition of virtue as having so much in common with Christianity that they can make common cause over against modernity. But Milbank responds by saying that, no, in fact classical antiquity has more in common with enlightenment modernity than it does with Christian theology, which is truly unique.

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