Yesterday I started class. Now it’s official, I have been a doctoral student for 1 day, and at the moment I am still pretty excited about this new adventure (and also unsure, I must confess). I am taking a class with Dr. Nancey Murphy where we will be studying the Catholic philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre.
Murphy calls him the most important philosopher in the last fifty years, and I intend to make his philosophy, as filtered through Murphy, the philosophical framework for my research program.
The main thing that initially drew me to MacIntyre was an earlier class I took with Murphy on the Philosophy of Religion. In that class we read an essay by MacIntyre written in 1970 titled, Epistemological Crises.??? This essay, along with that class as a whole, brought me through a major conversion. The substance of that conversion has been the necessity of traditions (often called narratives) in the life of the church and the necessity of aiding in bringing traditions through these epistemological??? crises. This conversion has been the source of much of my own inquiry and writting since that point.
One of his main points in the essay is that all traditions face crises (he does a lot of work that focuses on the importance of traditions). Those crises challenge the very core of the tradition, if a tradition is able to find the resources within itself to make the proper adjustments and overcome the crisis it it will survive, if not then the tradition will die. It’s not only his work with traditions, but also his ideas on modernity and postmodernity that intrigue me (I will explain more of this later when I know more about it!)…
Besides the fact that understanding MacIntyre’s philosophy will great aid in my own work, Murphy’s philosophical teaching has already been extremely influential in much of how I understand theology today. I’ve mentioned her often on my site and I will continue to do so as I am shaped by her thinking as a philosopher, theologian and Anabaptist.