Examines the definition of public virtue as morality or a standard of righteous actions in relationship to a citizen's authorized in society. Civic virtue helps human being understand your ties to the community and also their obligations within it. In many ways, an education citizen who possesses civic virtue is a publicly good.

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by Sara Bosin


Civic virtue is morality or a typical of righteous behavior in connection to a citizen"s authorized in society. An individual may exhibit civic virtue through voting, volunteering, arranging a publication group, or attending a PTA meeting.

Historic root

The Greek word because that virtue is arete, which method excellence. Socrates does not use the hatchet "civic virtue" in Plato"s Republic, yet highlights courage together a virtue that is acquired from what one learns indigenous a city. This distinguishes spirituality virtue, i beg your pardon is mandated by a higher being, from civic virtue, which adheres to the laws and also customs that a city.

In Aristotle"s discussion of virtue, he proposal that humans take pleasure in virtue. Virtue, both civic and also moral, is the method in i m sorry humans accomplish their greatest happiness. Aristotle holds that humans must know about these virtues before they can hope to much better the community. Aristotle also maintains that it is simpler to teach a person around the virtues who has actually been "well lugged up." This means that the education and learning of virtue, both civic and moral, must begin at home.

St. Cutting board Aquinas complied with Aristotle"s Nicomachean Ethics and also held that the highest good comes from God. The aim, then of got virtues, is come flourish. Aquinas provided a difference between civic virtues the sought political great and spirituality virtues that were ordained by God.


Civic virtue helps civilization understand your ties to the community and their obligations within it. In many ways, an education citizen who possesses civic virtue is a windy good.

In Bowling Alone, Harvard professor of public policy, Robert Putnam, suggests that Americans" sense of ar is waning, the nearby ties lock once had actually to their ar are disappearing. The infant boomers and the Generation Xers display a disconnection native community and also a tendency toward individualism. Putnam calls for individuals to take the initiative and start educating America"s youth around civic virtue, reconnecting through their neighbors, and also increasing participation in national politics to adjust this trend and to assist them reconnect. Putnam defines three public virtues: active participation in public life ,trustworthiness , andreciprocity that is obtained through society connectedness. Just through an knowledge of civic virtue will Americans be able to flourish in their communities and also play an active function in American democracy.

Ties to the Philanthropic Sector

Civic virtue is the ethical underpinning of just how a citizen relates come society. Without an knowledge of civic virtue, citizens are less likely to look past their very own families, friends, and economic interests. Castle are much less likely to help others in the community, to volunteer their time, to offer money to nonprofit organizations, or to participate in a team that benefits society (e.g., Kiwanis or Mothers versus Drunk Driving).

In providing a civic education, the is imperative the the prominence of philanthropy be stressed. To assist in this, schools can create a mission explain for their philanthropic endeavors and also reward great that proactively participate. In addition, teachers have the right to organize philanthropic course projects that selection from collecting apparel for a family in should taking a field trip to occupational at a neighborhood soup kitchen. In understanding civic virtue, it is crucial that students see the outcomes of their philanthropic efforts and also their ties to the higher society.

Key related Ideas

CitizenshipPhilanthropyPublic goodSocial capitalStewardshipVoluntarism


Aristotle. Nicomachean Ethics. Indianapolis: Hackett posting Company, Inc., 1999.

Bellah, Robert N. Actions of the Heart: Individualism and also Commitment in American Life. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1985.

Inglis, John. "Aquinas"s Replication that the got Moral Virtues: rethinking the Standard thoughtful Interpretation of ethical Virtue in Aquinas." newspaper of religious Ethics.

Lutz, note J. "Civic Virtue and Socratic Virtue." object 29, no.4 (Summer 1997): 565.

Munkler, Herfried. "Civil society and public Virtue. Execute Democratically Constituted neighborhoods Require Socio-moral Foundation?" worldwide Review the Sociology 8, no.3 (Nov. 1998): 425.

Putnam, Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. Brand-new York: Simon & Schuster, 2000.

White, Patricia. Public Virtues and also Public Schooling: Educating Citizens because that a democratic Society. Brand-new York: Teachers university Press, 1996.

Yu, Jiyuan. "Virtue: Confucius and Aristotle." Philosophy eastern & West 48, no. 2 (April 1998): 323.

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This document was emerged by a student taking a Philanthropic researches course teach at case Western make reservation University. The is offered by finding out To Give and also Case western Reserve University.