One can wonder what the object of patriotism is and whether this object is morally acceptable: is it a country whatever that country is standing for? Some will argue that being a patriot is not about questioning your country; it is only following the motto “my country, right or wrong” and blindly loving it; others will say that patriotism should be avoided for this very reason. But a patriot can also favor the welfare of his country by attempting to make it respect moral standards and it seems that to make patriotism morally acceptable, a country has to keep up to certain high moral principles that give a satisfying reason for a patriot to support it, so is the object of patriotism a valuable country? Or is the object of patriotism simply a political ideal? Does the object of patriotism intrinsically entail a moral obligation toward itself?
Alasdair MacIntyre (1994) argues for the first option. He looks at patriotism through a communitarian point of view; he considers that patriotism is morally not only acceptable but also central to any moral system. For him, patriotism is legitimate because one must build one’s moral values within a certain community. Others favor a more moderate view of patriotism. It is the case of Stephen Nathanson (1989)...
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...ism of Ernest Belfort Bax’, History of European Ideas, 30 (2004), nr. 4, 463–484.
MacIntyre, Alasdair, ‘Is Patriotism a Virtue?’, E.H. Lindley Lecture, (University of Kansas, 1984).
Nathanson, Stephen, ‘In Defense of “Moderate Patriotism”’, Ethics, 99 (1989), nr. 3, 535–552.
—, ‘Is Patriotism Like Racism?’, APA Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience, 91 (1992), nr. 2, 9–12.
Primoratz, Igor, ‘Patriotism–Morally allowed, Required, or Valuable?’, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict: Philosophical Perspectives, ed. by N. Miscevic, (Chicago and LaSalle, Ill.: Open Court Publishing Co., 2000), 101–113.
—, ‘Introduction’ to Patriotism, ed. by I. Primoratz (New York: Humanity Books, 2002), 9–23.
—, ‘Patriotism: A deflationary View’, The Philosophical Forum, 33 (2002), 443–458.
—, ‘Patriotism’, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. by E. Zalta, (2013).
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