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Fordham University School of Law




The general topic for this panel's discussion, "The Constitution of Civic Virtue for a Good Society," brings to mind an impossibly large set of fundamental questions. For example, what role does civic virtue play in sustaining our constitutional order and what role, if any, should government play in inculcating civic virtue and, thus, fostering self-government? What role do the institutions of civil society-a realm between the individual and the state, including the family and religious, civic, and other voluntary associations-play? What, exactly, is the content of civic virtue and what textual sources and institutional actors determine it? If historical accounts of civic virtue coexisted with and even lent support to forms of systematic inequality and subordination such as those rooted in sex and race, then as constitutional norms of equality change, shouldn't this, in turn, reshape accounts of civic virtue? And do conceptions of civic virtue apply primarily to democratic self-government, or public life, or should they also shape personal self-government, or, to use a contentious term, private life?



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