(Leiter 2011) The circumstances of civility

Leiter, Brian. The circumstances of civility. Public Law Working Paper No. 351. Chicago: University of Chicago; 2011 Apr 6. Available from: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1804544.

Leiter examines the circumstances under which civility is warranted. He advocates strict adherence to civility by both instructors and students in academic instructional contexts, and in any other situations where reasoned discussion is the principal aim: “In circumstances where epistemic values and motives govern, civility is essential and should be considered obligatory.” But Leiter denies that unfailing civility is called for in political discourse, at least in a “Dystopia” where some of the most powerful factions aim to subvert reasoned discussion to their own advantage: “we only treat civilly those who have some reasonable claim on informing our moral and epistemic decisions. Those recognized as craven villains, moral miscreants or pathological liars have no claim on civil treatment.”


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