MacIntyre on the Vice of ‘Blandly Generalized Benevolence’

[I’ve been reading Alasdair MacIntyre’s Dependent Rational Animals for a Virtue Ethics class. I like this book a lot and there are many many juicy quotes I could adduce. However, I want to point out only one: a quote which, by the way, summarizes my disappointment with the politics of trendy academic leftism, even though I am no conservative.]

“The limitations and blindnesses of self-interested desire have been catalogued often enough. Those of a blandly generalized benevolence have received too little attention. What such benevolence presents us with is a generalized Other–one whose only relationship to us is to provide an occasion for the exercise of our benevolence, so that we can reassure ourselves about our own good will–in place of those particular others with whom we must learn to share common goods, and participate in ongoing relationships” (119).


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