Communitarianism and its Critics

Paperback | September 1, 1993

byDaniel Bell, Will Kymlicka

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Many have criticized liberalism for being too individualist, but few have offered an alternative that goes beyond a vague affirmation of the need for community. In this entertaining book, written in dialogue form, Daniel Bell fills this gap, presenting and defending a distinctivelycommunitarian theory against the objections of a liberal critic. In a Paris cafe Anne, a strong supporter of communitarian ideals, and Philip, her querulous critic, debate the issues. Drawing on the works of such thinkers as Charles Taylor, Michael Sandel, and Alasdair MacIntyre, Anne attacks liberalism's individualistic view of the person by pointing to oursocial embeddedness. She develops Michael Walzer's idea that political thinking involves the interpretation of shared meanings emerging from the political life of a community, and rebuts Philip's criticism that this approach damages her case by being conservative and relativistic. She goes on todevelop a justification of communal life and to answer the criticism that communitarians lack an alternative moral vision. The book ends with two later discussions, by Will Kymlicka and Daniel Bell, in which Anne and another friend, Louise, criticize the book's earlier debate and put it inperspective.

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Many have criticized liberalism for being too individualist, but few have offered an alternative that goes beyond a vague affirmation of the need for community. In this entertaining book, written in dialogue form, Daniel Bell fills this gap, presenting and defending a distinctivelycommunitarian theory against the objections of a liber...

Daniel Bell is at Princeton University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.63 inPublished:September 1, 1993Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198279221

ISBN - 13:9780198279228

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`The author deserves to be commended for his originality and his courage in opting for this format and anyone who wishes to learn more about communitarianism really ought to look at this book and judge for themselves whether its approach suits them.'Talking Politics