Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 94, 2020

The Good, the True, the Beautiful: Through and of the Ages

M. T. Lu
Pages 119-128

How Is Patriotism a Virtue?

Alasdair MacIntyre once famously asked “is patriotism is a virtue?” but never quite answered the question. In this paper, I seek to provide a more concrete response by analyzing whether patriotism fits the model of an Aristotelian natural virtue. Since Aristotle himself does not offer an extensive discussion of patriotism as a virtue, I take my inspiration from St. Thomas who does clearly regard something like patriotism as a part of the natural virtue of piety. After exploring the significance of Thomas’s key claim that patriotism is owed to the “sources of our being,” I sketch the structure of moral virtue in Aristotle with an emphasis on his claim that all the virtues are . Finally, I show how patriotism fits the model of an Aristotelian natural moral virtue and conclude by addressing a few natural objections.