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Communitarianism and Its Critics - Daniel Bell

Communitarianism and Its Critics

Paperback Published: 1st October 1994
ISBN: 9780198279228
Number Of Pages: 272

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Many have criticized liberalism for being too individualistic, 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 distinctively communitarian theory against the objections of a liberal critic. Drawing on the works of such thinkers as Charles Taylor, Michael Sandel, and Alasdair MacIntyre, Bell attacks liberalism's individualistic view of the person by pointing to our social embeddedness. He develops Michael Walzer's idea that political thinking involves the interpretation of shared meanings emerging from the political life of a community, and intelligently rebuts criticism that this approach damages his case by being conservative and relativistic. Communitarianism and Its Critics is a provocative defense of a distinctly communitarian theory which will stimulate interest and debate among scholars and students of political theory as well as those approaching the subject for the first time.

Industry Reviews

"What has been needed...is a statement of communitarian positions which can be used as a point of reference. Daniel Bell...has provided just this in his excellent book."--Alasdair MacIntyre, in Radical Philosophy
"A clear and very readable, indeed enjoyable, piece of writing. The dialogue form is used skillfully to bring the communitarian position to life and to give an overview of the debate between it and liberalism which is central to current social philosophy."--Times Higher Education Supplement
"Bell's philosophical dialogue is witty and irreverential. The book reminds us of the rich heuristic potential of this much-neglected form....It offers the liveliest and most accessible introduction to the intensely important debate between liberals and communitarians that has yet appeared."--The
Guardian
"Lucid, thought-provoking, and attentive to the anatomy of the current liberal debate. A must reading for the contemporary mind."--David A. Freeman, Washburn University

Introductionp. 1
In Defence of the Dialogue Formp. 21
Act I: A Communitarian Critique of Liberal Foundationsp. 24
Act II: Political Theorizing as the Interpretation of a Community's Shared Understandingsp. 55
Act III: A Communitarian Moral Vision and Some Political Consequencesp. 90
Act IV: On the Importance of the Nationp. 124
Act V: A Discussion about the Value of Language-Based Communities, the Gay Community, and the Familyp. 156
Appendix 1: Some Questions about Justice and Communityp. 208
Appendix 2: A Replyp. 222
Bibliographyp. 237
Indexp. 247
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780198279228
ISBN-10: 0198279221
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 272
Published: 1st October 1994
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97  x 1.55
Weight (kg): 0.35