By David Thunder
What does citizenship need to do with residing a priceless human existence? Political scientists and philosophers who learn the perform of citizenship, together with Rawlsian liberals and Niebuhrian realists, have tended to both relegate this question to the personal realm or insist that moral ideas needs to be silenced or heavily compromised in our deliberations as voters. This ebook argues that the insulation of public existence from the moral perspective places in jeopardy not just our integrity as folks but additionally the legitimacy and long term survival of our political groups. based on this challenge, David Thunder goals to rehabilitate the moral point of view in political philosophy, via protecting the legitimacy and value of giving complete play to our inner most moral commitments in our civic roles and constructing a collection of guidance for electorate who desire to enact their civic roles with integrity. during this method, this publication provokes a full of life dialog in regards to the moral foundations of public lifestyles in constitutional democracies.
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Additional info for Citizenship and the Pursuit of the Worthy Life
In the second stage (Chapters 4–6), I critique recent attempts to drive a wedge between ethical and political reasons for action (Chapter 4), make a positive case for the value of citizenship as an integral component of a worthy human life, and develop the rudiments of an integrationist ideal of civic engagement, viz. one that gives the value of ethical integrity full scope in the political arena (Chapter 5). I draw the argument to a close in Chapter 6 by considering six objections to the integrationist ideal, four of which are motivated by the value of ethical integrity, and two by the requirements of a constitutional democratic political order.
The objections made from an ethical standpoint are: first, that I have exaggerated the ethical value of citizenship; second, that the requirements of citizenship inhibit the full unfolding of an individual’s native character; third, that citizenship, whether directly or indirectly, implicates us in grave wrongdoing; and fourth, that any serious attempt to reconcile citizenship and religious faith saps the power of religious communities to witness to a different, anti-liberal way of life. I address two objections from a social and political standpoint: First, that the whole notion of conscientious civic engagement within a constitutional democracy is self-defeating, insofar as the liberationist ethos of constitutional democracy undermines the authority of intermediate associations, the very wellsprings of civic character; and second, that the quest for integrity will result in forms of moral and religious perfectionism, dogmatism, and inflexibility that stand in the way of the sorts of compromises that are essential for peaceful coexistence and civic friendship in any large and diverse community.
However, it is important to point out that my appeal to shared experience and intuitions is not premised on a contractarian view of social order, nor does it deauthorize philosophically contested accounts of political order or exclude comprehensive doctrines from playing a leading role in political arguments. Neither my view of integrity nor my view of political life stake their authority on the mere fact of agreement, whether actual or hypothetical, as Rawls’s appears to do at times. Securing wide agreement on an account of integrity and citizenship is clearly an argumentative advantage, but the most important advantage of my account, if it is actually worth endorsing, is that it approximates the truth about the moral life more closely than rival accounts, or uncovers truths about the moral life that are neglected or denied by rival accounts.