Skip to main content

Reading Group on Alasdair MacIntyre's Can Medicine Dispense with a Theological Perspective on Human Nature?

Online Event
The Metaphysics of Teleology
Thursday, March 18, 2021, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm

In this paper MacIntyre scrutinizes the unconditional and absolute obligations that are characteristic of the medical profession. He argues that this kind of obligation can be at home in two different kinds of moral theories. The kind espoused by Aristotelians and utilitarians furnishes it with a teleological framework, while the kind embraced by Kantians and intuitionists claims that these kinds of obligations are simply facts of reason. MacIntyre argues that both of these accounts have their shortcomings: the former approach trivializes categorical obligations, while the latter approach renders them utterly unintelligible. MacIntyre shows that, to explain categorical imperatives, Kant himself actually provided a picture that was both theological and teleological in its nature. In the end, MacIntyre concludes that while we can dispense with a theological perspective, a teleology based on larger narratives is needed in order to give a proper grounding for unconditional obligations.

ABOUT THE PROJECT: The chief goal of the "Meant to Be: Resuscitating the Metaphysics of Teleology" project is to foster intelligent debate on philosophical issues concerning science, religion, and their conflicts and connections.
The CEU Center for Religious Studies is proud to be hosting this project, which has also received generous support from the New Horizons for Science and Religion in Central and Eastern Europe initiative, the Ian Ramsey Centre, and the John Templeton Foundation.

To find out more about this project, please visit its website: