Civility as Political Constraint

Res Publica, Vol. 8, pp. 217-229, 2002

Posted: 18 Jun 2008

See all articles by William A. Edmundson

William A. Edmundson

Georgia State University College of Law

Date Written: 2002

Abstract

The everyday virtue of civility functions as a constraint upon informal social pressures. Can civility also be understood, as John Rawls proposed, as a distinctively political constraint? This article contrasts Rawls's project of constraining the political with Mill's project of constraining both the social and the political, and explores Rawls's account of the relation between the social and the political. The article shows how Rawls's political duty of civility rests on the assumption that the political is peculiarly coercive, ignores the social enforcement of morality, and implausibly has civility apply to motives in acting rather than to actions themselves.

Keywords: civility, coercion, Rawls, Mill, liberal principle of legitimacy

JEL Classification: K00

Suggested Citation

Edmundson, William A., Civility as Political Constraint (2002). Res Publica, Vol. 8, pp. 217-229, 2002, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1147385

William A. Edmundson (Contact Author)

Georgia State University College of Law ( email )

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Atlanta, GA 30302-4037
United States
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HOME PAGE: http://law.gsu.edu/wedmundson/

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