After Virtue

The Believer and MacIntyre's Emotivist Culture

Title: The Believer and MacIntyre’s Emotivist Culture

Author: Katherine Perry

Date Written: Feb. 22, 2006

Words: 2,085

In his book After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre asserts that members of contemporary society live in a world devoid of definitively objective moral foundation, a world he calls an “emotivist culture.” This essay will first define which specific characteristics MacIntyre believes are entailed in such a culture. Second, it will explain and elucidate the author’s argument for why the present state of the world reflects this emotivist culture. Last, it will present an argument refuting MacIntyre’s vision because his roster of emotivist social characters lacks a key non-emotivist player—the believer, or an individual who grounds his or her belief in a divine moral code.

Before delving into an explanation of MacIntyre’s emotivist culture, it is both important and necessary to define emotivism as a moral philosophy. A theory of emotively-based moral judgments, emotivism purports that the assessment of values can be understood only in terms of emotive meaning, or on the basis of personal and individual realities. MacIntyre describes the theory as follows: “Emotivism is the doctrine that all evaluative judgments and more...

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