A Mazzinian Inspired Moral Form of Partiality: MfP Patriotism

Watson, Ian (2023). A Mazzinian Inspired Moral Form of Partiality: MfP Patriotism. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.00016454


The Brexit vote in the UK revealed two tribal views that conceive partiality, change, identity and social trust differently. These are not new and represent two world views of morality, one global, the Anywheres, the other local, the Somewheres. My project seeks to bridge the divide between them by developing a moral form of partiality, best described as a moderate form of patriotism, which I call MfP. Avoiding the standard philosophical approach to justify MfP, I make two interdependent claims. First, my patria and polity, the object of MfP, is a Korsgaardian conditional value that is objectively good when the condition of its objective goodness is satisfied. Secondly, the strongly normative practical identity of a MfP-patriot is the best identity to act to satisfy the condition of objective goodness. MfP is about satisfying the desire for human flourishing by acting from the universal principle to reject indifference and neglect in the workable, cooperative, social and political system of my patria and polity. The MfP-patriot is focused on acting to foster and sustain the social fabric, secure the common good and protect the environment. MfP is inspired by the patriotic thoughts of Giuseppe Mazzini who was a nineteenth century Italian revolutionary and prolific writer. It helps make our minds bigger so that we extend our circle of concern to others. Being a MfP-patriot is about sharing in the labour for the good of humanity. MfP is underpinned by a disposition I call ‘connected, poetically present and compassionate’ conservatism; cppc-conservatism. MfP is justified by our rational nature. It is a moral form of partiality that marks it out as worthy of choice and makes the world a better place.

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