Robert A. Gahl, Jr.

MacIntyre on Teleology, Narrative, and Human Flourishing: Towards a Thomistic Narrative Anthropology

Abstract: Alasdair MacIntyre’s account of moral philosophy offers an interwoven theory of teleology, narrative, and human flourishing. As MacIntyre has continued to develop these three central components of his proposal, he has also reinforced their inseparability and mutual dependence. Nonetheless, many of his commentators continue to neglect the interrelatedness of these components on account of their having underappreciated the extent and depth of his conversion to Aristotelian Thomism. This essay displays MacIntyre’s development of moral philosophy over the course of his career. It also focuses on MacIntyre’s Thomistic integration of natural teleology within his metaphysical anthropology to emphasize the distinctiveness of narratives understood as real dramatic enactments constitutive of human flourishing. Although few Thomists have attempted to re-read Aquinas in light of MacIntyre’s proposal for extending that living tradition of enquiry, this essay concludes with a Thomistic proposal for a narrative anthropology crafted to constructively engage MacIntyre’s proposal from the Thomistic perspective.