Justifying Republican Patriotism

  • Szilárd János Tóth PhD student, Doctoral School of Political Science, Corvinus University of Budapest
Keywords: republicanism, patriotism, freedom as non-domination, love, loyalty


My paper is on the republican version of patriotism and its justification, as developed most systematically by Philip Pettit and Maurizio Viroli. The essence of the justification is as follows: patriotism is to be viewed as valuable insofar as it is an indispensable instrument for the upholding of the central republican ideal, namely freedom understood as non-domination. My primary aim is to evaluate the normative force of this justification. In the first section, I introduce minimal descriptive definitions of the concepts of patriotism and the patria. Second, I reconstruct the republican patria-ideal to which patriotism is linked to. In the third section, I reconstruct the republican justification of patriotism. Finally, I ask what we justify when we justify republican patriotism. Two views are prevalent in this regard. According to the first, republican patriotic motivation, similarly to its justification, ought to be instrumental itself too (Pettit, Viroli). I argue that this view is untenable, since it is in tension with the minimal definition of patriotism. The conclusion is that the other view – according to which the patriotic motivation ought to be of intrinsic character (Miller) – possesses greater normative force.


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