• Virtue and Voice: Habits of Mind for a Return to Civil Discourse

Virtue and Voice: Habits of Mind for a Return to Civil Discourse

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By Evan Rosa and Gregg Ten Elshof

Civil society is losing its civility.

Many Americans think public manners and behavior have deteriorated, especially in public discourse about polarized political, moral, and cultural issues. But democracy and cultural progress require a robust civility in public discourse if they are to be successful endeavors. Our sharply divided world is in great need of a civility that facilitates respect, honor, and kindness toward ideological opponents.

The contributors to this edited volume represent philosophical, theological, psychological, historical, and sociological perspectives, providing analysis of intellectual virtue and vice as well as explorations of their application to specific problems in contemporary society. In acknowledging the current climate of contentious and ineffective civil discourse, Virtue & Voice highlights how the cultivation of intellectual virtue can renew our voices and heal the broken state of our public discourse.

Gregg Ten Elshof is a professor of philosophy at Biola University. He is author of I Told Me So: Self-Deception and the Christian Life, which won Christianity Today’s 2009 Book Award for Christian Living, and Confucius for Christians.

Evan Rosa is the director of Biola University’s Center for Christian Thought and teaches philosophy at Biola University. He is the editor of CCT’s journal, The Table, and earned his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and linguistics at University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Fullerton, CA, with his wife and four children.

Old-timers and newcomers to this subject as formally addressed here will not be alone in recognizing a need for a book like this. Every day, hour, and minute, as well as personal experience and media demonstrate the incivility of public discourse in moral, political, and religious life. Not content merely to report on the public scene, these essays demonstrate the values of curiosity, attentiveness, open-mindedness, intellectual carefulness, and intellectual thoroughness.

So what? What can be done? Virtue and Voice attends not only to public discourse but to St. Augustine’s definition of virtues as ‘right-ordered affections.’ The authors also remain concerned about finding ‘common ground’ in community and public life. Since they can be judged in respect to one of the virtues which receives much attention here, humility, it would be out of place for them to advertise themselves as titans on the international scene. Instead, they naturally and systematically deal with the provinces they know best and in which they can help make the most difference: education—whether in academies, forums, or ad hoc community gatherings, where uncivil argument comes easily. Civil discourse can make a refreshing difference. Virtue and Voice creatively dedicates itself to such discourse, and readers of this book who put any of its contributions to work in the larger society will find fresh ways to be intellectually virtuous.—Martin E. Marty, The Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus, The University of Chicago

ISBN 9781684261703
Pages 232
Dimensions (inches) 6 x 9
Weight (pounds) 0.5

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