Edited by Leroy S. Rouner
Are Americans less civil than they used to be? If so, is that a bad thing? Perhaps we are just learning to be more honest. And what does civility mean? Is it just good manners? If so, perhaps it is only the complaint of privileged classes, annoyed that taxi drivers are increasingly rude and that men no longer give up their seats to women on public transportation. Or is civility a question of morality? The philosopher Peter Bertocci once argued that promptness is a fundamental form of social justice.
In this lively conversation on an increasingly significant theme, major philosophers and religious scholars argue the issue on three levels. The first is manners: Henry Rosemont argues the Confucian case that manners are the substance of social relations, while Edwin Delattre and Adam Seligman believe that the issue is deeper than that; and the sociologist Alan Wolfe is persuaded that we are not less civil or ill-mannered than our predecessors. Secondly, as a social issue, James Schmidt, Lawrence Cahoone, and Adam Seligman turn to questions of structure and meaning in a civil society; Ninian Smart, David Wong, and Virginia Straus put the issue in a cross-cultural context; Stephen Toulmin describes the corruption of civility by dogmatism; and Carrie Doehring warns that civility may be a barrier to honest communication in family life. Finally, the metaphysical and religious dimensions of civility are explored by Robert Pippin, Adam McClellan, and Daniel Dahlstrom.
There seems to be a consensus that the lack of civility is, indeed, an increasing problem, that it is more than a class issue of manners; and that its current loss is troubling for contemporary society.
Boston University Studies in Philosophy and Religion
Leroy S. Rouner, editor
Daniel O. Dahlstrom
Edwin J. Delattre
Robert B. Pippin
Henry Rosemont, Jr.
Adam B. Seligman
David B. Wong
Also available in the Boston University Studies in Philosophy and Religion series:
Religion, Politics, and Peace
“Rouner and the 10 authors who contributed to this book hold that religion is inseparable from politics and peace. While religious commitments can lead to political division, without a religious basis the political arena lacks a theoretical and moral foundation. Similarly, religious beliefs can move people to violence, but they also provide the preconditions for peace and a humane way of life. The contributors recognize this phenomenon and explore the ways in which religion has enhanced political life and served the cause of peace.” —New Oxford Review
“These essays from the Boston University Studies in Philosophy and Religion series are grouped into three major sections: philosophies of loneliness, literature and the “lonely prophet,” and varieties of cultural loneliness . . . . The scope of the book is far-ranging in its exploration of the gifts and sufferings of loneliness. In general the essays are insightful and well written." —_Choice_