The Ethics of Patriotism: A Debate

The Ethics of Patriotism: A Debate

The Ethics of Patriotism: A Debate

The Ethics of Patriotism: A Debate

Synopsis

The unique approach taken within The Ethics of Patriotism brings together the differing perspectives of three leading figures in the philosophical debate who deliver an up-to-date, accessible, and vigorous presentation of the major views and arguments.
  • Brings together the differing perspectives of three leading philosophers, who, together, explore the major positions on the ethics of patriotism
  • Connects with several burgeoning fields of interest in philosophy and politics, including nationalism, civic virtue, liberalism and republicanism, loyalty, and cosmopolitanism
  • Demonstrates that it is possible to make progress on the question of the ethics of patriotism while taking an ecumenical approach to larger theoretical questions
  • A timely and relevant response to the upsurge of interest in nationalism, patriotism, and secessions

Excerpt

1 Patriotism and Morality

Are you patriotic? Should you be patriotic? Should you encourage others to be patriotic? These questions provoke conflicting reactions among different people. For some, patriotism is unquestionably a high moral virtue, and to call a person a patriot – better still, a true patriot – is the greatest of compliments. For others, patriotism is an object of suspicion, derided as ignorant and feared as warlike. Any attempt to explain the morality of patriotism encounters several deeply contested problems, both theoretical and practical. the morality of patriotism is intimately connected with controversies concerning such topics as character and motivation, human nature, citizenship, the role of the state, political identity and obligation, and the basic structure of morality.

Disagreements about patriotism rest partly upon disagreements about how humans think and behave and about the reality of the conditions we face in the actual world. There is much to be learned about patriotism through empirical studies in history, psychology, sociology, and political science. But the question of whether we should be patriotic is an ethical question, requiring philosophical investigation. To evaluate patriotism, we need to achieve a better understanding of the concept of patriotism, so that we know what we are talking about; we need to discriminate between different possible kinds of patriotism; and we need to decide whether patriotism is a moral virtue or vice and whether it is morally required, morally optional, or morally prohibited. We need to decide . . .

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