Civic Virtues

Civic Virtues : Rights, Citizenship, and Republican Liberalism

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Seemingly there is no political debate which doesn't devolve into an argument over rights. For centuries a cornerstone of liberal theory, rights claims have become so over-used as to blur cases of real abuse. In this original and provocative study, Dagger argues for a republican liberalism that, while celebrating the liberal heritage of autonomy and rights, solidly places these within social relations and obligations, which while ubiquitous, are often obscured and forgotten.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 272 pages
  • 152 x 226 x 20mm | 421.84g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • 0195106342
  • 9780195106343
  • 835,863

Back cover copy

Although few want to deny the importance of individual rights, many political theorists have recently complained that their importance has been greatly over-emphasized. The result, as they see it, is an excessive individualism that blinds people to the needs of the community or state to which they belong. We should be less concerned with our rights, in their view, and more concerned with our responsibilities. Those who advanced this view typically argue against liberalism. In Civic Virtues, a compelling addition to the distinguished Oxford Political Theory series, Richard Dagger takes a different approach. Finding the proper relationship between rights and responsibilities requires us not to choose between liberalism and republicanism, he argues, but to unite them in a republican form of liberalism. Is such a marriage of republicanism and liberalism possible? Is it desirable? Dagger demonstrates how republican liberalism proceeds from a fundamental right of autonomy, to the recognition of interdependence and reciprocity, and on to the cultivation of the civic virtues of the public-spirited citizen. Indeed, republican liberalism promises not only to reconcile individual rights and civic duties, but to enhance political deliberation and the sense of community as well. Timely, vigorous, and accessibly written, Civic Virtues will be crucial interest to students of political philosophy and to all who hope to revive civic life.
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Review quote

This book is a pleasure to read. It combines clarity of philosophical argument with thorough knowledge of the empirical social and political sciences. Many of his ideas will prove highly valuable for moderate attempts to beat the odds. - Bert Van den Brink - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice no2 1999 an important work givent the growing interest in active citizenship....Dagger's book makes a very important contribution to our understanding of citizenship through its clear demonstration that state promotion of civic virtue is compatible with individual autonomy. * Political Studies Vol 47/1 *
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