ABSTRACT

We live at a time of considerable ethical uncertainty, and there is growing consensus on the need for the re-assertion of a language of moral value in public life, a language that has been steadily displaced and eroded by the modern obsession with cash value, cost and benefi t. As Rowan Williams, has put it, we must rescue ‘the concept of civic virtue, and thus the idea of public life as a possible vocation for the morally serious person’ (Williams 2010). This much is widely agreed. Among academics, public fi gures and politicians of all stripes, it is possible to detect the yearning for a new public morality.