How Virtue-Theoretic Arguments may be Used in the Justification of Policy

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Abstract

Politicians frequently deploy moral principles in the justification of policy. While many thinkers have examined the use of consequentialist and deontological arguments in politics, the role of virtue-theoretic principles is relatively under-theorised. Drawing on the work of MacIntyre, this article offers an initial exploration of how such principles are deployed in political argument, with particular emphasis on policies in the area of community. It will be shown that virtue is linked to the idea of the common good, which governments seek to promote through a range of policy initiatives relating to such issues as law and order and citizenship.

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