Democracy and Moral Development: A Politics of Virtue

Front Cover
University of California Press, Apr 28, 2023 - Philosophy - 198 pages
At a time when politics and virtue seem less compatible than oil and water, Democracy and Moral Development shows how to bring the two together. Philosopher David Norton applies classical concepts of virtue to the premises of modern democracy. The centerpiece of the book is a model of organizational management applicable to the state, business, the professions, and voluntary communities.

From inside the book

Selected pages


Classical Liberalism Individuality Recovered But Misdirected
Individuality Reconceived and Redirected The Doctrine of Developmental Democracy
Implementation of Developmental Democracy Focus Upon Adolescence
Meaningful Work to Meaningful Living The Virtues and Politics
Responsibilities and Rights
Community as the Sociality of True Individuals
Good Government

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 29 - I put for a general inclination of all mankind a perpetual and restless desire of power after power, that ceaseth only in death. And the cause of this is not always that a man hopes for a more intensive delight than he has already attained to, or that he cannot be content with a moderate power; but because he cannot assure the power and means to live well which he hath present, without the acquisition of more.
Page 47 - He who lets the world, or his own portion of it, choose his plan of life for him, has no need of any other faculty than the ape-like one of imitation.
Page 143 - Individualism is a calm and considered feeling which disposes each citizen to isolate himself from the mass of his fellows and withdraw into the circle of family and friends; with this little society formed to his taste, he gladly leaves the greater society to look after itself.
Page 78 - Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.
Page 47 - Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model, and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree, which requires to grow and develope itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing.
Page 11 - Democracy has many meanings, but if it has a moral meaning, it is found in resolving that the supreme test of all political institutions and industrial arrangements shall be the contribution they make to the all-around growth of every member of society.
Page 47 - people" who exercise the power are not always the same people with those over whom it is exercised, and the "self-government" spoken of is not the government of each by himself, but of each by all the rest. The...
Page 26 - From this fundamental law of nature, by which men are commanded to endeavour peace, is derived this second law; that a man be willing, when others are so too, as far forth, as for peace, and defence of himself he shall think it necessary, to lay down this right to all things; and be contented with so much liberty against other men, as he would allow other men against himself.
Page 35 - To which let me add, that he who appropriates land to himself by his labour, does not lessen, but increase the common stock of mankind...
Page 53 - Individuality in a social and moral sense is something to be wrought out. It means initiative, inventiveness, varied resourcefulness, assumption of responsibility in choice of belief and conduct. These are not gifts, but achievements. As achievements, they are not absolute but relative to the use that is to be made of them. And this use varies with the environment.

About the author (2023)

David L. Norton (1930-1995) was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Delaware and author of the highly regarded Personal Destinies: A Philosophy of Ethical Individualism.

Bibliographic information