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Excerpt: "This chapter has more than one goal. First, I want to introduce readers to the apparatus of practices, institutions and virtues (PIV) that helps us understand what virtues are. Second, I want to explore the notion of politics a little, to see what its main problem is. (I will claim, perhaps surprisingly, that business management is largely a variation of politics.) Third, I want to reintroduce civility and suggest that it is an important contributor to solving the political problem (and problems of management).

Throughout this chapter, I will emphasize process. As we shall see, process is integrated in more than one way into the whole structure of virtues, as we learn what virtues are and as we train ourselves in them. Already, in chapter one, I suggested that controversies are processes in which we can seek truth. The writing and reading of books constitute another process in which we can seek truth. I hope that the things I write here will contribute to a wider discussion of the virtue of civility, a discussion which may promote truth, even if the particular ideas I espouse here turn out to be wrong."


Originally published as chapter three of The Virtue of Civility in the Practice of Politics by Philip D. Smith, University Press of America, 2002, reproduced by permission of Rowman & Littlefield. All rights reserved. Please contact the publisher for permission to copy, distribute or reprint.