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May 19, 2006

"Civic Renewal in America"

Philosophy & Public Policy Quarterly has just published my article on civic renewal. The pdf is available here. The article begins:

Our formal political system is coarse, unproductive, and short-sighted. Outside of formal politics, however, a robust movement is beginning to renew civic engagement in America. In this article, I define what I mean by "civic" work. I then describe some important current examples and contend that the whole field is growing stronger and more unified. (This independent analysis supports the results of a new book by Carmen Sirianni and Lewis A. Friedland entitled The Civic Renewal Movement.) Finally, I argue that this kind of work should matter to academic philosophers--and vice-versa.

This is my effort to pull together all my professional work since 2001 (leaving aside certain themes in moral philosophy that I've been writing about). Every section of the article appeared first on this blog, but the printed version is more coherent. The heart of the essay is a list of important, ongoing, practical experiments. Before I get to that list, I propose an argument for the importance of civic renewal, defined in a certain way. I then use network mapping software to show that the various experiments on my list are interconnected. At the end, in what amounts to a defense of my eccentric professional work, I argue that civic engagement is essential for the discipline of political philosophy at this point in its evolution.

Posted by peterlevine at May 19, 2006 09:45 AM


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