Markkula Center of Applied Ethics

Seminar on Civic Virtue Kicks Off Series

"Laws and their enforcement are not enough to make a good society. Rights and interests are not enough to make a good society. No society can flourish, or perhaps even exist, without civic virtue."
[At the Center]
That, said Philip Kain, chair of the Philosophy Department, is why he and other members of the Ethics Center's steering committee, chose civic virtue as the first topic of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics Seminar, a program that will begin in the 1997Æ98 academic year.

Each year, the seminar will bring nationally known scholars to Santa Clara University to meet with a select group of faculty from SCU and other universities. In addition, the scholars will give public presentations and be available as resources to the local community.

The first seminar will focus on civic virtue, which Kain defines as "those qualities that enable an individual to participate in the community in a positive way," including justice, tolerance, willingness to participate in the duties of citizenship, and commitment to work for the common good.

To discuss these virtues, the seminar will bring to SCU Robert Audi, the Charles J. Mach Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at University of Chicago Divinity School; and William Galston, director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at University of Maryland and former deputy director for domestic policy to President Clinton.

Each scholar will give a public lecture and then lead the civic virtue seminar, which will include 14 faculty participants selected by application from Santa Clara and other area colleges and universities. The participants will also meet monthly to discuss various texts on civic virtue and will ultimately prepare papers arising from the seminar. "Our purpose is to stimulate faculty research and contribute to the environment of academic excellence at SCU," Kain said.