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Calhoun, Cheshire. The Virtue of Civility
2000, Philosophy and Public Affairs 29 (3):251-275.
Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Eline Gerritsen

Abstract: The decline of civility has increasingly become the subject of lament both in popular media and in daily conversation. Civility forestalls the potential unpleasantness of a life with other people. Without it, daily social exchanges can turn nasty and sometimes hazardous. Civility thus seems to be a basic virtue of social life. Moral philosophers, however, do not typically mention civility in their catalogues or examples of virtue. In what follows, I want to suggest that civility is a particularly interesting virtue for moral philosophers because giving an adequate account of the virtue of civility requires us to rethink the relationship between moral virtue and compliance with social norms.

Comment: This paper has a clear argumentative structure, gives many examples and does not require prior knowledge of the topic. It can be used on its own in a discussion of virtue ethics, e.g. to illustrate how you can argue that something is a virtue and how to differentiate virtues. It can also be used in a discussion of the relation between morality and social norms.

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