Communitarian theories of justice essay

See Article History Communitarianism, social and political philosophy that emphasizes the importance of community in the functioning of political life, in the analysis and evaluation of political institutions, and in understanding human identity and well-being.

Communitarian theories of justice essay

Universalism Versus Particularism Communitarians have sought to deflate the universal pretensions of liberal theory. Whereas Rawls seemed to present his theory of justice as universally true, communitarians argued that the standards of justice must be found in forms of life and traditions of particular societies and hence can vary from context to context.

The Liberal-Communitarian Debate

Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor argued that moral and political judgment will depend on the language of reasons and the interpretive framework within which agents view their world, hence that it makes no sense to begin the political enterprise by abstracting from the interpretive dimensions of human beliefs, practices, and institutions Taylorch.

Michael Walzer developed the additional argument that effective social criticism must derive from and resonate with the habits and traditions of actual people living in specific times and places. In short, liberals who ask what is just by abstracting from particular social contexts are doomed to philosophical incoherence and liberal theorists who adopt this method to persuade people to do the just thing are doomed to political irrelevance.

Communitarian theories of justice essay

Rawls has since tried to eliminate the universalist presuppositions from his theory. In Political Liberalism, Rawls he argues in a communitarian vein that his conception of the person as impartial citizen provides the best account of liberal-democratic political culture and that his political aim is only to work out the rules for consensus in political communities where people are willing to try for consensus.

Having said that, one still gets the sense that the liberal vision laid out in A Theory of Justice is the best possible political ideal, one that all rational individuals would want if they were able to choose between the available political alternatives.

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There may be justifiable non-liberal regimes, but these should be regarded as second best to be tolerated and perhaps respected, not idealized or emulated.

Other liberal theorists have taken a harder line against communitarian concessions, arguing that liberal theory can and should present itself as a universally valid ideal.

Brian Barry, for one, opens his widely cited book Justice as Impartiality by boldly affirming the universality of his theory: Barry does recognize that a theory of justice must be anchored in substantive moral considerations, but his normative vision appears to be limited to the values and practices of liberal Western societies.

He seems distinctly uninterested in learning anything worthwhile from non-Western political traditions: One might consider the reaction to a Chinese intellectual who puts forward a universal theory of justice that draws on the Chinese political tradition for inspiration and completely ignores the history and moral argumentation in Western societies, except for brief criticisms of slavery and imperialism.

Still, it must be conceded that s communitarian theorists were less-than-successful at putting forward attractive visions of non-liberal societies. The communitarian case for pluralism for the need to respect and perhaps learn from non-liberal societies that may be as good as, if not better than, the liberal societies of the West may have been unintentionally undermined by their own use of counter examples.

In After Virtue, Alasdair MacIntyre defended the Aristotelian ideal of the intimate, reciprocating local community bound by shared ends, where people simply assume and fulfill socially given roles MacIntyre But this pre-modern Gemeinschaft conception of an all-encompassing community that members unreflectively endorse seemed distinctly ill-suited for complex and conflict-ridden large-scale industrialized societies.

Not surprisingly, few readers were inspired by this example of non-liberal justice not to mention the fact that many contemporary Indian thinkers view the caste system as an unfortunate legacy of the past that Indians should strive hard to overcome.

In short, this use of ill-informed examples may have unintentionally reinforced the view that there are few if any justifiable alternatives to liberalism in modern societies. Communitarians could score some theoretical points by urging liberal thinkers to be cautious about developing universal arguments founded exclusively on the moral argumentation and political experience of Western liberal societies, but few thinkers would really contemplate the possibility of non-liberal practices appropriate for the modern world so long as the alternatives to liberalism consisted of Golden Ages, caste societies, fascism, or actually-existing communism.

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For the communitarian critique of liberal universalism to have any lasting credibility, thinkers need to provide compelling counter-examples to modern-day liberal-democratic regimes and s communitarians came up short.This essay is therefore divided in three parts, and for each part I present the main communitarian claims, followed by an argument (in each part) that philosophical concerns in the s have largely given way to the political concerns that motivated much of the communitarian critique in the first place.

ideas that are communitarian in nature can be found in the Old and New Testaments, Catholic theology (e.g., emphasis on the church as A Theory of Justice (Rwa ls ).

n I ht at essay called “Atomism,” in which he wrote that. Three Theories of Justice: Utilitarianism, Justice as Fairness, and Libertarianism (1) Utilitarianism A society, according to Utilitarianism, is just to the extent that its laws and institutions are such as to promote the greatest overall or average happiness of its members.

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If you need a custom essay or research paper on . This is the approach to justice from the communitarian. Communitarianism in the last few decades has sparked in popularity among political philosophers.

Communitarians believe that political theories, such as classic liberalism, leaves out the importance and significance of the community.

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