Dictionary of Arguments

Philosophical and Scientific Issues in Dispute

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Disputed term/author/ism Author
Communitarianism Barber Brocker I 690
Communitarianism/Barber: Barber is not considered communitarian by all authors, but he does represent the typical topoi of communitarian politics: - rejection of a political philosophy based on abstract principles ((s)
- the accusation of the separation of the individual from social ties ("atomism") and
- dissatisfaction with a purely instrumental view of political institutions.
BarberVsCommunitarianism: in contrast to the chief theorists of communitarianism, Barber participated in the communitarian reform movement around Amitai Etzioni.
Variants of communitarianism: a) substantialistic: here the community is seen as a given, against it:
b) procedural: this is about the common practice of counselling and decision-making. Barber is to be attributed to the latter variant. (1)(2)
BarberVsMacIntyre, BarberVsWalzer, BarberVsTaylor: Considering theorists like Michael Walzer, Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor as sceptics of a national policy of democratic society and as supporters of a civil society perspective (3), Barber's programme of a strong democracy had to appear as a quite radical and reasonable position because it ultimately gave a high rank to the national political community and participation in political decisions. (BarberVsTaylor, BarberVsWalzer, BarberVsMacIntyre).
>A. MacIntyre, >M. Walzer, >Ch. Taylor.

1. Hartmut Rosa, „Fremde zu Nachbarn: die Vision einer demokratischen Bürgerschaft. Rezension zu Benjamin Barber, „Starke Demokratie“, in: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 43/6, 1995 S. 1066-169.
2. W. Jay Reedy, „The relevance of Rousseau to Contemporary Communitarism. The Example of Benjamin Barber”, in: Philosophy and Social Criticism 21/2, 1995
3. Michael Haus, Kommunitarismus. Einführung und Analyse, Wiesbaden 2003

Michael Haus, „Benjamin Barber, Starke Demokratie“ in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018

PolBarb I
Benjamin Barber
The Truth of Power. Intellectual Affairs in the Clinton White House New York 2001

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018
Communitarianism Dagger Gaus I 167
Communitarianism/republicanism/Dagger: Communitarianism and republicanism are closely related schools of thought - so closely related that friend and foe alike sometimes conflate them. CommunitarianismVsLiberalism/RepublicanismVsLiberalism: Both the emergence of communitarianism and the revival of republicanism in recent years stem from an uneasiness with liberalism. In both cases the fiundamental complaint is that liberalism is guilty of an excessive or misguided emphasis on the rights and liberties of the individual that 'nurtures a socially corrosive form of individualism' (Newman, 1989(1): 254). Some communitarians and republicans advance their theories as alternatives to liberalism, while others take themselves to be restoring or reviving the concern for community or civic life that once informed liberal theory and practice.
Communitarianism/Dagger: communitarians (...) seem to be joined more by a common impulse or longing than by agreement on shared principles. As a result (...) communitarians have been vulnerable to three charges:
1) that their objections to liberal theory are largely misconceived;
2) that they have no clear alternative to offer, largely because they fail to define 'community' in a precise or useful way; and
3) that the vague alternative they do offer runs the risk of imposing stifling conformity, or worse, on society.
There is, in addition, the embarrassment that some of the most prominent scholars to wear the communitarian label have either abandoned communitarianism or denied that the label ever truly fitted them. >Republicanism/Dagger, >Communitarianism/Political Philosophy.
Gaus I 173
Reactions on criticisms: Sandel (...) has decided that 'republican' better defines his position than 'communitarian' and MacIntyre has denied, quite forcefully, that he is or ever was a communitarian. Others have embraced the communitarian label, but their rejoinders to 'liberal' criticisms stress their desire to strike a balance between individual rights and civic responsibilities (Etzioni, 1996)(2) in order to 'move closer to the ideal of community life' - a life in which 'we learn the value of integrating what we seek individually with the needs and aspirations of other people' (Tam, 1998(3): 220, emphasis added). Political communitarianism: In contrast to MacIntyre, Sandel, Walzer, and Taylor, these
'political communitarians' (Frazer, 1999)(4) are less concerned with philosophical criticism of liberalism or individualism than with moving closer to the ideal of community life by reviving civil society. They hope to do this, in particular, by calling attention to shared values and beliefs, encouraging active and widespread participation in civic life, and bringing politics down to the local, properly 'human' level (Frazer, 1999(4): 41-2). The key question for these 'political' communitarians is whether 'the ideal of community life' is precise and powerful enough to do the work they want it to do.
VsCommunitarianism: Whether 'philosophical' or 'political' , communitarianism is too vague to be helpful and too accommodating to be acceptable. Communities take a great many forms, including some - such as fascist or Nazi communes - that communitarians themselves must find unpalatable or intolerable. >Communitarianism/Sandel, >Communitarianism/Political Philosophy.

1. Newman, Stephen (1989) 'Challenging the liberal individualist tradition in America: "community" as a critical ideal in recent political theory'. In A. C. Hutchinson and L. J. M. Green, eds, Law and the Community: The End of Individualism? Toronto: Carswell.
2. Etzioni, Amitai (1996) The New Golden Rule: Community and Morality in Democratic Society. New York: Basic.
3. Tam, Henry (1998) Communitarianism: A New Agenda for Politics and Citizenship. Basingstoke: Macmillan.
4. Frazer, Elizabeth (1999) The Problems of Communitarian Politics: Unity and Conflict. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dagger, Richard 2004. „Communitarianism and Republicanism“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004
Communitarianism MacIntyre Brocker I 662
Communitarianism/MacIntyre: MacIntyre refuses to be classified as a communitarian.(1) This refusal is stringent, since MacIntyre sees neither in a modern communitarianism nor in the implantation of an antique communitarianism into modernism a possibility to get out of the impasse. >Modernism/MacIntyre, Ethics/MacIntyre, Morals/MacIntyre.
MacIntyre: Thesis: we live in an epoch after the virtue. MacIntyre is not prepared to accept contemporary communitarianism as a possible response to the crisis of liberalism.
MacIntyreVsCommunitarianism: The option of such a corrective dualism of liberalism and communitarianism falls below the problem level given to it. There is no easy way out of the disastrous situation of modernism.
>Communitarianism, >VsCommunitarianism.

1. Alasdair MacIntyre „I’m not a Communitarian, But…” in: The responsive Community. Rights and Responsibilities, 1/3, 1991, p. 91.

Jürgen Goldstein, „Alasdair MacIntyre, Der Verlust der Tugend“ in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018
Conflicts Communitarianism Gaus I 234
Conflicts/Communitarianism/Lamont: where there is genuine disagreement within a culture, what within the communitarian theory ensures that voices of criticism and dissent will not be drowned by the dominant, possibly oppressive, culture? If there are no independent normative standards for defining oppression, and if even the points of view of dissenting individuals are secondary to the normative primacy of cultures, how can any cultures be shown oppressive on the communitarian view? LiberalismVsCommunitarianism: Jean Hampton is one liberal theorist who believes communitarian theories lack the theoretical resources needed to answer these questions: in her words, communitarian theories lack 'critical moral distance' (1997(1): 188). Whether communitarians can answer this complaint in a distinctive way will determine the success of communitarian theory as a viable alternative to liberalism, and will also determine, more broadly, the success of cultural relativism for distributive justice.
>Culture, >Cultural relativism, >Cultural values,
>Multiculturalism, >Liberalism, >VsCommunitarianism, >Oppression, >Distributive justice.

1. Hampton, Jean (1997) Political Philosophy. Oxford: Westview.

Lamont, Julian 2004. „Distributive Justice“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications

Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004
Liberty Pettit Brocker I 851
Liberty/PettitVsLiberalism/Pettit: Pettit criticizes the liberal fixation on a "negative freedom": this is all too one-sidedly aimed at maintaining the distance between the individual and the state. Here there are two shortcomings:
a) The necessary protective functions of the state for the free self-development of the individual and
b) to recognize and appreciate the benefits of the participation of individuals in political decisions.
With liberalism, Pettit shares concerns about a dominant state that restricts individual choices and ultimately denies political participation. His model-theoretical and programmatic key goal derived from this is therefore: freedom without dominance, but certainly state support for the attainment of individual freedom.
Forms of freedom/Pettit: in addition to the traditional understanding of freedom "to" or "of" something, Pettit introduces a third form: a form of "non-domination": bringing: freedom from domination, compulsion and arbitrariness, from "domination" and "mastery", which however does not stand in the way of freedom for political participation. (1)
Problem: An arbitrary ruling position of persons or institutions restricts an individual's freedom of choice through open or covert power of disposal, through the impairment of freedom of will or through manipulation of individual behavior.
Non-domination/Pettit: Solution: to distance oneself from arbitrary rule- (2) The state is primarily understood as a political agency with the task of promoting the freedom of the individual and protecting it from foreign domination.
>State/Pettit, Republicanism/Pettit.
Brocker I 853
Pettit polemicizes against those republican variants that consider "bourgeois-humanist" freedom of political participation as the most important characteristic of the political sphere. In his opinion, they underestimate the notorious tendency of the state to dominate, to which the individuals, as participants in public life, suddenly surrendered themselves. Pettit calls this republicanism, rather unusual and in the expression of contempt, "populist" or "communitarian".(3) PettitVsCommunitarianism. >Governance/Pettit, State/Pettit, >Communitarianism, >Republicanism.

1. Philip Pettit, Republicanism. A Theory of Freedom and Government, Oxford 1997, p. 22
2. Ibid. p. 66
3. Ibid. p. 8
Emanuel Richter, „Philip Pettit, Republicanism“, in: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018

Pett I
Ph. Pettit
Just Freedom: A Moral Compass for a Complex World New York 2014

Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018

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