David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (4):413-423 (2011)
Patriotism is subject to searing moral criticism, but is it necessarily a vice? The article offers a conditional defense of patriotism. It acknowledges that even at its best, patriotism is a dangerous virtue and prone to abuse. Nevertheless, we ought to acknowledge the truth that a just patriotism is possible, and we should seek to specify and bring about its conditions. Just as it is permissible to form deep attachments to imperfect others, so, too, it is not always wrong to feel a special attachment to and responsibility for one’s own country. Even so, addressing patriotism’s manifest dangers requires enacting practical institutional reforms. These include greater protections for rights of political dissent and contestation, insulating the school curriculum from politicization and bringing more attention to the nation’s shortcomings, and greatly expanding the role of international institutions and perspectives which furnish a salutary check on national self-preference
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