This is the third in a series of posts highlighting captivating, provocative, or simply entertaining quotes from the forthcoming book Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections by Stanley Hauerwas with Robert J. Dean (Cascade).
In the essay “Why Jean Vanier Matters: An Exemplary Exploration,” Hauerwas draws upon the work of Alasdair MacIntyre to help us see why we cannot do without the exemplification of Jean Vanier and the L’Arche movement, if we are to reason and live well. While the just of the following paragraph could be distilled from many of Hauerwas’s earlier writings, the clarity of the following summary of MacIntyre’s tradition-based account of moral inquiry commends itself to those who are seeking to understand how MacIntyre has impacted Hauerwas’s own way of thinking about ethics and rationality.
“MacIntyre’s emphasis on the historical character of rationality is an alternative to the Encyclopaedic and genealogical positions. That the history of a craft is constitutive of its rationality means that the work of the craft is never complete, as the agents of the craft must remain open to new discoveries and challenges. One of the marks of the authority of the master is that they must know how to go further in order that the craft be extended by recognizing and responding to new challenges. New discoveries can never be ruled out since one of the marks of a good tradition is to know how to go further. To “go further” means one must know how to link the past with the future in an ongoing narrative that both cares for the past and anticipates the future. Exemplification is required in this process because it must be seen how the new developments in the craft are in continuity with past developments.”1
- Stanley Hauerwas, “Why Jean Vanier Matters: An Exemplary Exploration,” Minding the Web: Making Theological Connections (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2018), 52-53. ↩