My co-bloggers ask if philosophy is necessary for a society to have virtue, and I say no. For one, the number of virtuous people in the world far exceeds the number of people who have studied philosophy, so obviously it must come from other sources as well. Further, I would like to quote the following from Deirdre McCloskey:
My dad was also a professor, and one time he said to a good but narrow grad student. “This summer read 30 first-rate novels.” It worked.
I cannot now find the longer essay that Deirdre initially told this story in, but the point she was getting at was that Plato was right and poets and novelists (like Shakespeare and Homer) were serious rivals to philosophers in the teaching of virtue. And I think that’s right. A decent Catechism, well taught with solid examples, also works.
That’s all I really have to add. There’s more than one way to skin this cat.