Communitarianism and Its Critics

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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 distinctively communitarian 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 our social embeddedness. She then 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 to develop a justification of communal life and to answer the criticism that communitarians lack an alternative moral and political vision. The book ends with two later discussions, by Will Kymlicka and Daniel Bell, in which Anne and another friend, Louise, argue about the merits of the book's earlier debate and put it in perspective. Daniel Bell's book is a provocative defence of a distinctively communitarian theory which will stimulate interest and debate among both students of political theory and those approaching the subject for the first time.

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Índice

Introduction I
15
Political Theorizing as the Interpretation of
55
A Communitarian Moral Vision and Some Political
90
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Sobre el autor (1993)

Daniel Bell, an American sociologist and journalist, studied at City College of New York and Columbia University. As a journalist he was an editor of Fortune magazine and later served on several presidential committees. His work as chairman of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Commission on the Year 2000 led to the publication of a collection of futuristic essays and discussions by some of the finest minds of the century. His teaching career included posts at Chicago, Columbia, and Harvard universities. In Bell's best-known book, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (1976), he analyzed the emerging role of information technology in the West. He was among the first scholars to realize that the production of information and knowledge would eclipse manufacturing in the developed world. Bell will be most remembered for his groundbreaking work in social change. He contended that new theories and models of decision making had to be devised to address the issues presented by an information-based society.

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