Bachelor of Arts (BA)
Department or Program
Daw-Nay N. R. Evans, Jr.
James J. Marquardt
Modern citizens generally find it impossible to come to shared conclusions about moral disagreements in civil discourse. In this paper, I support MacIntyre’s thesis that the breakdown of moral dialogue is due to Enlightenment ethicists’ failure to rationally ground morality in any objective standard following their rejection of Aristotelian virtue ethics. As a result, public demonstrations of wrath against fellow citizens are common in our civil discourse because our virtuous conduct is less important than our irreconcilable ideological goals. I argue that returning to virtue is necessary and that virtues can be recognized initially by adherence to Aristotle’s standard of the Mean. I consider three virtues of the good citizen: wit, patience, and hope, and show that these virtues cannot be expressed under our currently preferred methods of civil discourse. An alternative approach is needed, one that looks more like citizens engaged in a ‘barn-raising’ and less like a ‘war.’
Schmitz, Anthony J., "Returning Classical Virtue to Modern Civil Discourse" (2020). Senior Theses.