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[Review Essay: Jeffrey Stout, Democracy and Tradition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2004), xv + 348 pp.] Liberalism has long been accused of underestimating the significance of community and tradition, both for individual well-being, and for the well-being of the polity as a whole. The liberal conception of persons, which emphasizes individualism and urges critical detachment toward, and autonomous reflection on, accepted forms of belief, has been described by communitarian and traditionalist critiques as an "atomistic" conception of persons as prior to, and fully determined by, autonomously chosen ends and commitments. Such a conception, they argued, greatly underestimated the role of traditional values, practices, relationships, and obligations, in moral education and development, in the capacity of individuals to construct a meaningful sense of personal identity, and in their capacity to form and pursue a conception of the good life. (1) Similar criticisms were raised against liberal political philosophy and its conception of the state. Liberal democracy, described as a procedural, morally neutral framework for rational cooperation between self-interested individuals, (2) was blamed for today's fragmented societies with their alienated individuals, lacking in shared values and practices without which no sense of connectedness and solidarity and no meaningful moral discourse were possible.

GENRE
Religion & Spirituality
RELEASED
2004
July 1
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
25
Pages
PUBLISHER
Social Theory and Practice-Florida State University
SELLER
The Gale Group, Inc., a Delaware corporation and an affiliate of Cengage Learning, Inc.
SIZE
204
KB

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