Drawing on implications from ethics, theology, law, politics, and education, this book argues that we can decide what is right by describing particular cases in detail, without the aid of ethical theories and principles.
Aristotle claims that narrative can depict virtue and vice in particular cases, and that literature's moral meanings are not subject to philosophical paraphrase. He distrusts generalization in ethics, asserting that valid judgments rest on the perception of particulars. But this position is itself an unprovable generalization. If philosophy cannot prove the superiority of narrative over moral theory, perhaps literature can show it. In "Lolita", Nabokov reveals the moral hazards of theory while depicting one man's profound evil. Thus "Lolita" is an (...) illuminating example of pure Aristotelian fiction that serves a moral function without recourse to theory. (shrink)
This book taps the best American thinkers to answer the essential American question: How do we sustain our experiment in government of, by, and for the people? Authored by an extraordinary and politically diverse roster of public officials, scholars, and educators, these chapters describe our nation's civic education problem, assess its causes, offer an agenda for reform, and explain the high stakes at risk if we fail.
The spread of new information and communications technologies during the past two decades has helped reshape civic associations, political communities, and global relations. In the midst of the information revolution, we find that the speed of this technology-driven change has outpaced our understanding of its social and ethical effects. The moral dimensions of this new technology and its effects on social bonds need to be questioned and scrutinized: Should the Internet be understood as a new form of public space and (...) a source of public good? What are we to make of hackers? Does the Internet strengthen or weaken community? In The Internet in Public Life, essayists confront these and other important questions. This timely and necessary volume makes clear the need for a broader conversation about the effects of the Internet, and the questions raised by these seven essays highlight some of the most pressing issues at hand. (shrink)
In Community Matters: Challenges to Civic Engagement in the 21st Century, six distinguished scholars address three perennial challenges of civic life: the making of a citizen, how citizens are to agree , and how to define the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. These essays will encourage students, academics, and interested citizens outside the academy to go farther and dig deeper into these vital issues.
This book combines contemporary ethical theory, literary interpretation, and historical narrative to defend a view of the humanities as a source of moral guidance. Peter Levine argues that moral philosophers should interpret narratives and literary critics should adopt moral positions. His new analysis of Dante’s story of Paolo and Francesca sheds new light on the moral advantages and pitfalls of narratives versus ethical theories and principles.
The myth of generations of disengaged youth has been shattered by increases in youth turnout in the 2004, 2006, and 2008 primaries. Young Americans are responsive to effective outreach efforts, and this collection addresses how to best provide opportunities for enhancing civic learning and forming lasting civic identities. The thirteen original essays are based on research in schools and in settings beyond the schoolyard where civic life is experienced. One focus is on programs for those schools in poor communities that (...) tend to overlook civic education. Another chapter reports on how two city governments--Hampton, Virginia, and San Francisco--have invited youth to participate on boards and in agencies. A cluster of chapters focuses on the civic education programs in Canada and Western Europe, where, as in the United States, immigration and income inequality raise challenges to civic life. (shrink)
A civic ideal is an ideal of deliberative self‐governance. People who participate in discussing what their own groups should do are being civic. Civic venues, institutions, and habits have waned since the mid‐1900s. In the 1990s, a movement arose to restore them, under the banner of “civic renewal.” This movement was carefully nonpartisan, often impartial about specific issues, and interested in creating alternative settings that could complement such basic political institutions as Congress and elections. As the condition of democracy has (...) worsened in recent years, this approach looks inadequate or irrelevant. The most promising sources of civic renewal now are parties and social movements that have substantive agendas, such as racial justice, and that improve civic life as a collateral benefit. [Correction added on 27 September 2021, after first online publication: In the abstract, “mid‐1990s” has been changed to “mid‐1900s”.]. (shrink)