Chapter

Community and Liberal Theory <sup>*</sup>

David B. Wong

in Natural Moralities

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195305395
Published online September 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199786657 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195305396.003.0005
 Community and Liberal Theory  *

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This chapter argues for the crucial role of intermediate associations in the promotion of effective moral agency. Communitarians often criticize liberal ethical theory as neglecting this role, and moreover, argue that liberal theory (e.g., Rawls’ theory of justice) is ill suited to the nature and moral qualities of some of the most crucial associations such as the family. It is argued here that liberal theory does tend to neglect the role of intermediate associations and to gloss over moral conflicts between loyalties to these associations and loyalties to the larger society. However, it is also argued that liberal conceptions of justice are not so much ill suited to families but provide incomplete normative perspectives on them, and that values of care and communitarian conceptions of justice need to be brought into play along aside the liberal conceptions.

Keywords: care; communitarian; effective moral agency; family; intermediate associations; justice; liberal theory

Chapter.  6464 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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