The book “Dependent Rational Animals” by Alasdair MacIntyre, is clearly conceived by MacIntyre as in part an auto-critique. Whilst continuing to stick to the most important part of his project, he recognized two aspects in which he has been in error. Firstly, he admits that his negative response in “After Virtue” of Aristotle’s ‘metaphysical biology’ left a big hole in his moral theory; and MacIntyre evaluates that he was ‘in error in supposing an ethics independent of biology to be possible’ (MacIntyre, x).

Secondly, he believes that he undervalued the level and importance of the modifications made by Aquinas to Aristotle, specially related to the functionality of human weakness and dependence for a appropriate knowledge of the virtues.

Consequently, MacIntyre now claims that: the virtues that we need, if we are to develop from our initial animal condition into that of independent rational agents, and the virtues that we need, if we are to confront and respond to vulnerability and disability both in ourselves and in others, belong to one and the same set of virtues, the distinctive virtues of dependent rational animals, whose dependence, rationality and animality have to be understood in relationship to each other (p. 5). I totally agree with MacIntyre’s claim that although animals and human beings have many differences but at the same time many of the virtues are shared by them.

Argument In the beginning these seem to be new interests for MacIntyre, who is well recognized for his work for narrative ethics and his conviction that ethical causes are is situated inside the folds of traditional communal practices, qualities and stories. An incisive critic of modernity and freethinking, MacIntyre is well-known for his refusal of all new ethics of principle, be it the definite essential concept of efficacy of John Stuart Mill and other modern utilitarian. He has disapproved of liberal Protestantism, Marxism, Hegelianism, naturalism and de-constructionism.

He has, in brief, been challenging. MacIntyre's evaluation of humans with animals is not astonishing if one keep in mind that he has at all times positioned ethics in the moving life. In his “Short History of Ethics” (1966), MacIntyre asserted that ethics is eudae-monistic--it is related to the pursuit for the good quality life and the fulfillment of our fundamental wants. In “After Virtue” (1981) he referred to the human being as a "story telling animal. " MacIntyre believes Aristotle in taking humans as logical animals.

However he includes something that Aristotle ignores, the view of humans as "dependent" rational animals. (Macintyre, 17) For MacIntyre Dependency and vulnerability are the greatest keys to unlock the secrets of human ethics. I agree with MacIntyre saying that we humans are dependent, not only when we are very young but also when we are unwell or when we grow old. In actual fact, a community's care for its dependent ill and disabled is for MacIntyre a basic gauge of its ethical stature. I think that human beings learn to become moral individuals during their extended years of dependency.

At this point, MacIntyre is of the same opinion with Freud, even though the later is nowhere talked about in this book. Other animals that experience long childhood dependence, like dolphins and gorillas, moreover show signs of the basic ethical characteristics of assistance, common defense and care for the disabled. According to MacIntyre, with the passage of time; we human beings become an independent practical reasoner which is normally termed as being mature because we are dependent and needy animals by nature.

But not to forget, independence and dependence are not two totally different things; indeed, reliance is the assumption for the likelihood of independence. Moreover, independence is by no means without its dependencies. Lastly, rational reason and the affections are not conflicting substitutes. Realistic reasons are an addition and alternative of pre-linguistic and pre-rational emotional requirements and motivations-needs and inspiration that humans share with animals.

MacIntyre formed his very personal powerfully psychological developmental theory of how human beings grow to be independent practical reasoners. (Macintyre, 45) He used object-relations theory, particularly the writings of Donald Winnicott, in showing how good enough parents change their reactive and self-centered children into grown-ups. However he does not talk of maturity in reference to health, ego strength, generativity, self-actualization, identity or self-cohesion--the different modern and supposedly value-free psychological ideas and notions that we use to talk about capable adult hood.

MacIntyre exchanges the terms and the frame of reference in arguing that not psychological equilibrium but the capability for independent practical reason is the stopping of human growth and the end of maturity. The argument proceeds in two stages. First, MacIntyre insists on the significance of what human beings share with some other animals; in particular corporeal and other kinds of vulnerability, and the ability to react cleverly to dangers and opportunities. Here he discards the analysis that, in the absence of a verbal statement, non-human animals cannot have either values or reasons for action.

While denying neither that the custody of a language makes a significant distinction to the kind of life that it is possible to be alive, nor that the question of whether some non-human animals do acquire a language is important, he does contradict that these issues have the demeanor on human uniqueness which they are often taken to have. (Macintyre, 67) To a more than unimportant level we share both our vulnerabilities and capabilities for sane thought with some nonhuman animals (dolphins are the favored comparators).

Moreover, “adult human activity and belief are best understood as developing out of, and as still in part dependent upon, modes of belief and activity that we share with some other species of intelligent animal” (MacIntyre, 41). In developing these claims MacIntyre takes issue with arguments advanced by philosophers as diverse as Kenny, McDowell and Heidegger; and no doubt these debates will receive the further analysis they be worthy of.

In the second part of his argument, MacIntyre seeks to follow some of the implications of compliant that human beings exist on a variety with other species. The most crucial of these, although not of course a novel claim, is that there are specific conditions for human beings to thrive just as there are for other species. These are given by what we share as human beings, which may need to be supplemented but are not displaced by other conditions which attend to our differences.

Moving rather speedily, MacIntyre goes on to argue that for any human being “it is as someone [who] exercises in a relevant way the capacities of an independent practical reasoner that her or his potentialities for thriving in a particularly human way are developed” (MacIntyre, 77). Among the many features of MacIntyre’s elaboration of the kinds of merits, dealings, and structures essential for human booming which worth discussion, I shall mention only two.

First, there is the centrality afforded to joint reliance and human vulnerability as in-eliminable fundamentals of the human condition, practiced by all of us, to a greater or lesser scale, at different times of our lives. In this reverence his views connect fascinatingly with those of morals of care theorists — not a connection MacIntyre himself pursues — and provides an important remedial both to treating the disabled and the reliant as separate categories, one way or another primarily different from the rest of us, and to a confusing stress on human beings as self-sufficient independent choosers.

The real debate of the merits of dependent rational animals, though, is a little thin and below par, some interesting reflections on miseri-cordia apart. Secondly, MacIntyre makes clearer than he has before the following implications of his views. In particular, he defends the significance of the confined community as potentially the only enough site for the performance and requirements of the merits of accredited dependence, and for authentic realistic consideration about the ordinary good.

In advancing this view, though vigilant not disagree with that the state may convey real repayment to its citizens, he insists that “the shared public goods of the modern nation–state are not the common goods of a genuine nation–wide community and, when the nation–state masquerades as the guardian of such a common good, the outcome is bound to be either ludicrous or disastrous or both” (MacIntyre, 132). MacIntyre admits that more squabbles are necessary to support his conclusions than he has sketched; and that the way in which he sets the issues up may seem calculated to support the kind of Aristotelian formation of ethical enquiry he favors.

Conclusion I agree to MacIntyre’s point of view that there is slight acknowledgment of the degree of our reliance on others and that this state of affairs has arisen, in part, because of our failure to understand the animal nature of human beings. Rational theories about what distinguishes us from other animal variety (e. g. beliefs that other animals cannot have thoughts, beliefs, or reasons for actions) guide to the supposition that reasonableness is independent of animality. In wrapping up it can be said that it does seem at times that his version of principled naturalism is inadequately hard won.

Moreover, while in many respects the situation he describes is deeply striking, I am not sure how far I can believe it. One cause for this perhaps comes out in his sharp, if respectful, rejection of Richard Rorty’s ironism as a form of ‘moral evasion’. (Macintyre, 139) He is right to say that Rorty’s marriage of sarcasm and harmony is a wobbly affiliation; but it is far from obvious that we can therefore simply fail to remember the ironism without attending either to its extraction, deeply entrenched in modern culture, or to the moral and rational challenge it poses.

To be fair, MacIntyre makes an effort to do the latter in his final chapter but, as I suspect he would agree if pushed, his response does not take us very far. Dependent Rational Animals is MacIntyre at his most engaging. Partly this is because, without retreating his aspiration or his iconoclasm, he is less edgily flippant of his opponents than has occasionally been the case. Above the entire although, it is because it offers a chance to reconnect with his project for those of us estranged by it’s apparently progressively more Thomist agenda. Not, I hasten to add, that MacIntyre has given up on that idea.