ERIC Number: ED161776
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978
Reference Count: 0
Private Ethics and Civic Virtue.
McDonald, Lee C.
The paper delineates areas to investigate when seeking information about political ethics in western society. The main purpose of the paper is to call attention to the relationship of civic virtue to communal politics. Specifically, five questions are posed and answered which deal with various aspects of civic virtue and its relationship to private ethics. The first question asks in what sense the dominant form of western liberal political ethics can be characterized as private ethics. The answer is that the western liberal politics of interest-accommodation assumes a public interest composed of the sum of private interests, and the separation of diverse individual ideals from common political morality. The second question is whether civic virtue is a singular or plural concept. The answer suggests that civic virtue is not singular but is composed of a cluster of virtues, some of which overlap private virtues. To the third question of whether the concept of civic virtue implies an ethics of virtue, the paper responds positively and contrasts virtue ethics with utilitarian ethics. The fourth question inquires whether an ethics of virtue can help make good public policy. The response is that virtue ethics contribute to public policy by asking questions that are otherwise not asked. The final question asks how to reconcile private ethics and public ethics, and private virtue and public virtue. The answer suggests that such reconciliations will be encouraged with the help of political education conceived as moral and liberal education. (Author/BC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association (New York, New York, August 31-September 3, 1978)