Authors. Alasdair MacIntyre. University of Notre Dame. Follow. Abstract. This is the text of The Lindley Lecture for , given by Alasdair Maclntyre, a Scottish. the nature of a more sophisticated patriotism comes from Scottish philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre, in an essay titled “Is Patriotism a Virtue?”. Patriotism raises questions of the sort philosophers characteristically discuss: How is patriotism to be defined? How is it related to similar.

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Alasdair MacIntyre, Is patriotism a virtue? – PhilPapers

Reprinted with a postscript in Primoratz ed. Part of what it is to be a citizen is to incur special obligations: The claim about the intrinsic value of our association might be thought a patriotiam point. The latter type of patriotism need not conflict with impartial justice or common human solidarity.

The madintyre of special concern for the well-being of our country and compatriots, just like other duties, universal and special, is justified by the good consequences of its adoption.

MacIntyre and the Morality of Patriotism

Exploring this middle ground has led some philosophers to construct positions accommodating both the universal and the particular point of view — both the mandates of universal justice and claims of common humanity, and the concern for the patria and compatriots. PEL Citizens also have free access to podcast transcripts, guided readings, episode guides, PEL music, and other citizen-exclusive material.

One standard example of such virtue is the type of concern for those in an extreme plight shown by the late Mother Theresa, or by Doctors Without Borders. He cannot say in good faith: Request removal from index. We can distinguish five types of patriotism, and each needs to be judged on its merits. But there is no single reason common to all or even most of them.

The same moral value, sympathy for and assistance to people in need, grounds a certain degree of concern for others as macinthre general moral duty and explains why a significantly higher degree of such concern is a moral ideal. Sign in Create an account.

But most of the benefits we receive from our country are of the latter sort: At one level, we are often justified in taking into account our particular commitments and attachments, including those to our country. Some go further, and argue that patriotism is morally mandatory, or even that it is the core of morality. This new, emphatically political version of patriotism has been met with both sympathy and skepticism.


A fuller account of patriotism is beyond the scope of this article. He also lives and flourishes as one because he is sustained in his moral life by his community. When these are exhibited in a reasonable degree and without ill thoughts about others and hostile actions towards them, that is patriotism; when they become unbridled and cause one to think vjrtue of others and act badly towards them, that is nationalism.

If justice macuntyre understood in universal, rather than parochial terms, if common human solidarity counts as a weighty moral consideration, and if peace is of paramount importance and war is morally permissible only when it is just, then this kind of patriotism must be rejected.

If successful, that account shows that we do have a moral duty to abide patrlotism the laws of our country, to act as citizens, and that this duty is one of fairness. Patriotism, on this view, is essential for living a morally good life. Open access to the SEP is made possible by a world-wide funding initiative. Its adherent will show special concern for his country and compatriots, but that will not prevent him from showing concern for other countries and their vitrue.

If someone were to deny that she has a duty of special concern for the well-being of her country and compatriots, beyond what the laws of her country mandate and beyond the concern she has for humans and humanity, would she thereby cease to be a citizen in the sense involving equal standing? This is bad faith. Everyone, compatriot or not, has a claim to our respect and concern … but those who join with us in cooperative enterprises have a claim to special recognition.

One major account of political obligation is that of fairness. Thus, we have relationships with those around us — with our families and the communities we live in.

But however important in other respects these preferences, identifications, and concerns might be, they lack positive moral import. Bernard Yack – – Critical Review 12 Therefore, if I do not understand the enacted narrative of my own individual life as embedded in the history of my country … I will not understand what I owe to others or what others owe to me, for what crimes of my nation I am bound to make reparation, for what benefits to my nation I am bound to feel gratitude.

For instance, it may require the patriot to fight for his country, but only in so far as the war is, and remains, just. I think most people who reflect may take at some point in their life a stance of philosophic indifference or neutrality but they themselves are grounded by institutions.


He would work for a just and humane society at home, and seek to ensure that the country acts justly beyond its borders, and shows common human solidarity towards those in need, however distant and unfamiliar. All the main arguments for the claim that patriotism is a duty, then, are exposed to serious objections. This is not a fair objection to patriotism as such. Patriotism and Human Rights: Ultimately, I have to revert to my membership in some core natural kind — the human kind — to judge the appropriateness of the effects that practices and groups have on me.

The group to which our primary loyalty would be owed would be the group from which we had obtained our moral understanding. Soutphommasane, Tim,The Virtuous Citizen: And we cannot talk with confidence about the reasons a large and complex group or institution has for its actions. This kind of conflict is at the heart of an Aristotelian account of morality: The special relationship between the patriot and the patria and compatriots — the relationship of love and identification — has been dissolved.

Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalismrev. After all they are not only your values, but lurk as unrealized potential in all mankind.

This is not to say that we are not concerned with the welfare of people around the world — it is a question of what weight do we give these concerns. That has led political theorists to look for alternatives. For an adherent of this type of patriotism, it is not enough that the country is her country.


Citizenship has intrinsic value because in virtue of being a citizen a person is a member of a collective body in which they enjoy equal status with its other members and are thereby provided with recognition. Is Patriotism a Virtue? On the liberal view, where and from whom I learn the principles of morality is just as irrelevant to their contents and to my commitment to them, as where and from whom I learn the principles of mathematics is irrelevant to their contents and my adherence to them.

The kind of patriotism defended by Nathanson and Baron is moderate in several distinct, but related respects. Routledge, in Association with the Open University