Teaching Writing and Teaching Virtue

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The ability to write well is more than just a neutral technique to be used for good or bad purposes. As Hobbes says, "eloquence persuades because it is seeming prudence," the effectiveness of a communication comes from its apparently embodying practical reasoning. Consequently, learning how to write well is an opportunity to learn how to deliberate, how to bring principles and concrete facts to bear on a situation that requires decision and action. Learning to write well is the acquisition of equipment without which the moral life is incomplete.