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Communitarianism-Liberalism 12-9,12-16[1]

Communitarianism-Liberalism 12-9,12-16[1] - Tuesday...

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Tuesday, December 9, 2003 Core Course MR 22 Justice Tuesday, December 16, 2003 Katharina Held Communitarianism Justice, Community and Membership (Mc Intyre, Walzer, Sandel) Political Liberalism and its Critique (Rawls & Sandel) I Communitarianism - three claims of different sorts: a) methodological claims about the importance of tradition and social context for moral and political reasoning b) ontological or metaphysical claims about the social nature of the self c) nomative claims about the value of community - claim of Communitarians and objection against Liberals: standars of justice cannot be found in the Rawlsian Archimedian point (original postion/veil of ignorance), but must be found in forms of life and traditions of particular societies and hence can vary from context to context - moral and political judgements depend on an interpretative framework within which agents view their world it makes no sense to start a political enterprise by abstracting from the dimensions of human beliefs, practices and institutions - criticism of liberal approach: 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 I .1 Alasdair McIntyre, After Virtue (ch.15) - each human life has an entity life as a whole modernity partions each human life into a variety of segments, each with its own norms and modes of behaviour (217) life is more than a sequence of individual actions and episodes - characterization of behaviour cannot be made independently from intentions and intentions can only be understandable if dependent of settings setting = “history, in which individuals are and have to be situated ” (217)
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interrelationship between the intentional, the social and the historical even if human action is parted into sequences, “each such sequence requires a context to be intelligible”(219) - agent of an action is not (only) an actor, but an author; life can be understood as a story “what the agent is able to do and say intelligibly as an actor is deeply affected by the fact that we are never more (sometimes less) than the co-authors of our own narratives ” (199) we live the story of our lives under certain constraints, “enter upon a stage that we did not design and we find ourselves part of an action that was not of our making” (ibid.) - the fact that we start our lives never ab initio , but plunge in medias res leads to an unpredictability of human life Questions: - How much influence doe we have on our ‘story’? - How much responsibility for our actions? - Does it make sense to plan the future? co-authorship doesn’t mean that we do not have the possibility to influence our lives, or do not have responsibility for our actions; and unpredictability doesn’t mean that we are unable to make plans: “We live out our lives, both individually and in our relationships with each other, in
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