Thanks to James Fleming and Linda McClain for their response to my post. The exchange has helped to elucidate the many fine points of their book. I appreciate too the various ways in which our projects overlap and thank them for continuing to bring them out.
I certainly agree that Fleming and McClain endorse a political liberal ideal of free and equal citizenship and that they often rely on an analysis that invokes this ideal in analyzing cases. They want to support free and equal citizenship. The most crucial concern, however, from my post is that the promotion of virtue may go beyond supporting the political liberal values of free and equal citizenship. Do Fleming and McClain mean to define virtue in that is merely synonymous with the political liberal ideal of free and equal citizenship, or is the concept of virtue distinct? Although they say that “we will not attempt here to persuade him about why it is possible to promote civic virtue without sliding into promoting moral virtues simpliciter and comprehensive visions of the good life,” I think this is the central challenge for their book, in that the issue of promoting virtue highlights one of their unique and important contributions to political theory. Read More