Preview Response

Virtues / Law

John Inazu

Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law and Religion, Washington University, USA
Professor of Political Science (by courtesy), Washington University, USA


Virtues as I understand them must be cultivated and practiced through particularized communities and institutions. Professor Herdt rightly claims that “virtues reach to ways the academy itself is structured.” But what are those virtues, and how do we know? The intellectual virtues are indeed relevant to scholarship and the scholarly life, but their cultivation in an embodied community requires a host of other virtues too often neglected or even suppressed by the modern research university. The resulting deficit allows for words like “equality” and “justice” whose precise meaning is subject to capture by the loudest voices and the deepest pockets. Scholars (Christian and otherwise) will need to identify and cultivate virtues—and practices—that imagine a different possibility.