Manners and the Moral Life

In Tom Harrison and David Walker (ed.), The Theory and Practice of Virtue Education. New York: Routledge. pp. 140-152 (2018)
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I explore the place of manners in the moral life, particularly with regard to their role in virtue education and in expressing virtue. The approach developed here is Aristotelian and Confucian in character. I identify and discuss three crucial functions of good manners: (1) they help social life to go well; (2) they often involve ways of showing respect or reverence for that which is respect-worthy or reverence-worthy; and (3) they ennoble our animal nature via an acquired second nature. In light of this account I also discuss how concerns about arbitrariness, oppressiveness, and dishonesty with respect to manners can be overcome.
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