Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Political Science

Number of Pages



How ought we, both as a society and as individuals, to reason about public policy matters? This question is examined for the purposes of analyzing the General Mining Law of 1872 and advocating reforms to this public lands law anachronism. Drawing from Aristotle and David Hume, individuals of good character, acting as citizens in pursuit of the public good through historically informed self-government deliberate best about public policy matters. It is through the exercise of civic virtue, which civic republican government encourages, that incremental and acceptable solutions to public policy problems are most likely to be found. When examined using a more formative civic virtue-based public philosophy, strong ethical arguments can be made for reforming the General Mining Law. After discerning the particulars and identifying its morally salient features, this Law does not stand up to modern concerns for economic efficiency and environmental quality. It requires major reform.


Aristotle; Civic; Discerning; David Hume; Environmental; Environmental Ethics; General; Gold; Gold Mining; Hume; Law; Mining; Particulars; Policy; Public; Reforming; Virtue; Gold Mining

Controlled Subject

Philosophy; Political science; Geology

File Format


File Size

5939.2 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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