Are humans really different from animals and, if so, how? And what difference does the answer make for our understanding of human morality? Through questions such as these, Alasdair MacIntyre brings his philosophy into dialogue with recent studies of dolphins, gorillas and other animals.
At first glance, these look like new interests for MacIntyre, who is widely known for his contributions to narrative ethics and his belief that moral reason is always nestled within the folds of tradition-based communal practices, virtues and stories. MacIntyre is credited with providing the philosophical foundations for the narrative ethics of Stanley Hauerwas and for the theory of the social sciences undergirding Robert Bellah and colleagues' Habits of the Heart.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).