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Liberalism and Communitarianism Author(s): Will Kymlicka Reviewed work(s): Source: Canadian Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Jun., 1988), pp. 181-203 Published by: Canadian Journal of Philosophy Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40231605 . Accessed: 02/02/2013 09:16
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CANADIAN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY Volume 18, Number 2, June 1988, pp. 181-204
and Liberalism Communitarianism*
WILLKYMLICKA Princeton University Princeton, NJ 08544 U.S.A.
It is a commonplaceamongst communitarians,socialistsand feminists alike that liberalismis to be rejected for its excessive 'individualism' or 'atomism,'for ignoring the manifest ways in which we are 'embedded' or 'situated'in various social roles and communal relationships. The effect of these theoreticalflaws is that liberalism,in a misguided attempt to protect and promote the dignity and autonomy of the individual, has undermined the associations and communities which alone can nurture human flourishing. My plan is to examine the resources availableto liberalismto meet these objections. My primaryconcern is with what liberalscan say in response, not with what particularliberals actually have said in the past. Still, as a way of acknowledgingintellectualdebts, if nothing else, I hope to show how my argumentsare relatedto the politicalmorality of modern liberalsfrom J.S. Mill through to Rawls and Dworkin. The termliberal'has been appliedto many differenttheoriesin many different fields, but I'musing it in this fairlyrestrictedsense. First,I'm dealing with a political morality, a set of moral arguments about the justificationof political action and political institutions. Second, my concernis with this modern liberalism,not seventeenth-centuryliberalism, and I want to leave entirely open what the relationship is between the two. It might be that the developments initiatedby the 'new liberals'are really an abandonmentof what was definitive of classical liberalism.G.A. Cohen, for example, says that since they rejectedthe principle of 'self-ownership'which was definitive of classical liberalism (e.g. in Locke), these new liberalsshould instead be called 'social
* This paper was first presented at the annual meetings of the Canadian Philosophical Association at McMaster University, May 1987.
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and we may regret our decisions even when things went as planned. whether that value is reallyworth pursuing. is needed to make sense of the way we in deliberateaboutimportantdecisionsin our lives. And not just in the sense of predicting wrongly. That may seem to be pretty banal. not the life we currentlybelieve to be good. claims which I hope will be unobjectionable.the crisis in faith. taking them as predeterminedyardsticks. Deliberation. from children's fairy tales to Dostoevskian epics. We may come to see that we've been wasting our lives.whatever the proper label. we recognize that we may to be mistaken about the worth or value of what we are currentlydoing.They are also 1 G. and not just to the tragic heroine.And the concern with which we make such judgments only makes sense on the assumption that our essential interest is in living a life that is in fact good. pursuing trivial or shallow goals and projects that we had mistakenly considered of great importance. Cohen.that is. Forleading a good life is differentfrom leading the life we currently believe be good . as individuals or as a community. and regret that I had ever embarked on that project. World-Ownership and Equality: Part 2/ SocialPhilosophy and Policy 3 (1986). For we deliberateeven when we know what will happen. in having those things that a good life contains. But they only make sense on the assumption that our beliefs aboutvalue could be mistaken.182 Will Kymlicka democrats/1My concern is to defend their politicalmorality.Our essential interest is in leading a good life. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Some people say that our essential interest is in living our life in accordancewith the ends that we.for our deliberationsare not just predictions about how to maximize the achievement of current ends and projects. currentlyhold and share. this process of questioning the value of our projects and commitments is the stuff of great literature . But it has important consequences. We deliberate these ways because we know we could get it wrong.then. or of calculating uncertainties. 79 This content downloaded on Sat. I may succeed brilliantlyat becomingthe best pushpin playerin the world. But that seems a mistake . As I said. Whatis theirpoliticalmorality? begins with some basicclaimsabout It our interests. but then come to realize that pushpin isn't as valuable as poetry.A. 'Self-Ownership. But the assumption that this could happen to all of us.we tell stories to ourselves and to others about what gives value to life. This is the stuff of great novels . doesn't only take the formof askingwhich course of action maximizes a particularvalue that is held unquestioned. We also question. and worryabout.
My life only goes better if I'mleading it from the inside. an interestin having as good a life as possible. it doesn't follow that someone else..no life goes better by being led from the outside accordingto values the person doesn't endorse. 26 This content downloaded on Sat.they allow us to examine and change the conditions in which we live . but you won't make someone's life better that way.. The claim that we have an essentialinterestin revisingthose of our currentbeliefsaboutvalue which are mistaken is not. And Marxsays that our highest orderinterest is in our capacity for freely creativelabour. who has reason to believe a mistakehas been made. 'Ourhighest-orderinterest is not an interest in exercising a capacitybecause we find that we have it . Praying to God may be a valuableactivity. It won't work because a valuable life has to be a life led from the inside. So we have two preconditionsfor the fulfillmentof our essential interest in leading a life that is in fact good.but our interest in them stems from our higher-orderinterest in leading a life that is in fact good. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . But while we may be mistaken in our beliefs about value. in accordancewith the correctaccount of value. One is that we lead our life 2 Ronald Dworkin. according to my beliefs about value.but obviously neither makes sense without the other.Liberalismand Communitarianism 183 judgments about the value of those ends and projects. Both are concernedthat individualsnot be forcedto take currentsocialroles and expectations as predeterminedyardsticksof a valuable life. this puts the cartbefore the horse. On the contrary. But. as Dworkin says. 'In Defense of Equality/ SocialPhilosophy and Policy 1 (1983). even if the coercedperson is mistakenin her belief that praying to God is a waste of time.that it has some worthwhile point and purpose.namely.2 The capacitiesthat Rawls and Marxdescribe are cruciallyimportant . I hope.but you have to believe that it's a worthwhile thing to do . Rawls emphasizes deliberating about the value of activities. But Rawls himself seems to deny them. I mentioned that I hoped these claimswould be unobjectionable.Marxemphasizes acting on these deliberations . can come along and improve my life by leading it for me. You can coerce someone into going to churchand makingthe rightphysicalmovements. He often says that our highestorder interest is in our capacity to form and revise our rationalplans of life. and we recognize that our current or past judgments are fallible. So I don't think that Marxor Rawls really disagrees with the sketch of our essential interests that I've presented. a life that has all the things that a good life should have. an objectionableone. but ratherwe develop and train capacities of the sort that [they] describe because we have a certaininterest' . It won't work.
by exploringdifferent aspects of our collective cultural heritage. Accordingto Dworkin. freedom of the press. and acting on them. artisticfreedom etc. without being imprisoned or penalized for unorthodox religious or sexual practices. This requirement of justice is primary leading the good life is our most essential interest. incapableof rationalcriticism or justification.politicaltheoriesarebest understood as working from an 'abstractegalitarianplateau. This accountof our essential interestforms the basis of liberalpolitical theory.and they need the culturalconditions necessary to acquirean awareness of different views about the good life. most comprehensively conceived. and to acquire an ability to intelligently examine and reexamine these views . 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and it's remarkablehow often this accepted wisdom gets passed on without the least bit of textualsupport. .for it has become part of the accepted wisdom that liberalisminvolves abstract individualism and scepticism about the good.e. is the political moralityof modern liberalism. The simplest response is that neither of these assumptions enters anywhere in the theories of Mill or Rawls or Dworkin. government treats people as equals. for the things that are needed to judge what is valuable in life in the only way we can judge such things . and an account of what follows from supposing that these interests matter equally. therefore.' accordingto which 'the interests of the members of the community matter. with equalconcernand respect. etc.184 Will Kymlicka from the inside. freedom of expression. That may not be what people think of as liberalism.by providingfor each individual the liberties and resources needed to examine and act on these bebecause our interest in liefs.hence the traditionalliberalconcern for civil and personal liberties. Unger claims that liberalsdefend liberty because our choices are ultimatelyarbitrary. 'In Defense/ 24 This content downloaded on Sat. in accordancewith our beliefs about what gives value to life. the other is that we be free to question those beliefs. in the barest outline. and matter equally/3 Each theory. That. to examine them in the light of whatever informationand examples and arguments our culturecan provide. So individualsmust have the resources and libertiesneeded to live their lives in accordancewith their beliefs about value.This 'principleof arbitrarydesire' underlies the in liberalbelief in the illegitimacyof governmentalinterference the way 3 Dworkin. Accordingto liberalism.hence the equally traditionalconcern for education..i.since our most essential interest is in getting these beliefs right. I'lllook at just two examples. must give an account of what people's interests are.
or are arbitrary.6 of Butboth of these claimsaremisconstruals the liberalposition. A Theoryof Justice(London: Oxford University Press (Oxford: Oxford University Press 1971). 'In Defense/ 24-30. 42-3 6 Jaggar.S.Representative Government. The same is true of Rawls.we hope to learnaboutthe good .but precisely because our goals can be wrong. Knowledgeand Politics (New York: Macmillan 1984). 498-504. liberty is needed because we can be mistaken about even our most fundamentalinterests. John Rawls. ed.H. and revise our beliefs about value.or that our goals are presocially fixed. Explanations Philosophical (Cambridge. Feminist Politics and Human Nature (Totawa. Nozick and Raz. If we couldn't learn about the good. re-examine. Robert Nozick. Mill. TheMoralityof Freedom 1986). 410-11. Acton.Liberalismand Communitarianism 185 people lead their lives. (London: J.4 Jaggarclaims that 'the liberaljustificationof the state presupposes that individualshave certainfixed interests/ and that 'human nature is a presocialsystem/5 This 'abstractindividualist' belief that our interests are fixed and known priorto society underlies the liberalconcern for the freedom to revise or reject our social roles and relationships.7They all argue for a right of moral independence not because our goals in life are fixed. Dworkin. On the contrary.Liberty.to question. This is one of the main reasons why we desire liberty . Dworkin.and Millsays that our desire should be respected because it is not a vain hope. Mill's for liberty doesn't rest on the claim that our goals are ultiargument mately arbitrary. 66-7. NJ: Rowman and Allenheld 1984). 114-31. 436-40. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .but modern liberalismcouldn't based on it. Freedom in society is importantnot because we know our good prior to social interaction. 4 Roberto Unger. and because some goals aremore worthy than others. 291-305 This content downloaded on Sat. there'd be no reason to let people revise their beliefs about value there'dbe no reason to suppose that people are being made worse off by being denied the social conditions necessary to freely and rationally question their commitments. Utilitarianism. and because we can revise and improve of them.M. Joseph Raz. 194 5 Jaggar. but because it helps us come to know our good. part of his argument for liberty would collapse. Alison Jaggar. 86 7 J. Libertyis needed precisely to find out what is valuable in life . 206-10. If 'abstract individualism' or 'moral scepticism' were the fundamental premise. MA: Harvard University Press 1981). Dent and Sons 1972). Not only is the received wisdom a misinterpretation modern be liberalism.or because we can never reallyknow our good.
Christian and humanist. 3. then the quest for selfdeterminationleads to Nietzschean nihilism. Accordingto Taylor. the defense fails. first. and hence without defined purpose.10 Maclntyretoo sees Nietzsche's nihilism as the logical consequence of this absolute self-determinationview of free individuality. this view which denies that communal values are 'authoritativehorizons. however much this is hidden by such seemingly positive terms as "rationality" or "creativity.Beingfree to question all the given limits of our social situation is self-defeating. are cast off as shackles on the will. the authoritative horizons of life. because complete freedom would be a void in which nothing would be worth doing. pretends to have an impossible universality or objectivity. The self which has arrived at freedom by setting aside all external obstacles and impingements is characterless. communitarians argue.if we don't. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . because the demand to be freely self-determiningis indeterminate. Hegel and ModernSociety(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1979).liberalsteach us that the freedom to form 8 Charles Taylor."8 True freedom must be 'situated/ Taylorargues. I now want to look at five different communitarian argumentsthat attemptto explainwhy it fails. ignores our embeddedness in communal practices.4. So. and 5. which thus impartsa shape to rationality and provides an inspirationfor creativity/9We must accept the goal that the situation 'sets for us' . nothing would deserve to count for anything. 159 11 Alasdair Maclntyre. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory (London: Duckworth 1981). The five argumentscan be summarized this way: the liberal view of the self 1. violates our self-perceptions.' or about subordinatingall the presuppositions of our situation to our rationalself-determination.But. 157 9 Ibid. Only the will to power remains.'11 But this argumentmisconstruesthe role that freedom plays in liberalism. Taylor says. Talkingabout 'going beyond the given altogether. it 'cannot specify any content to our action outside of a situation which sets goals for us.186 Will Kymlicka Thisthen is the defense of liberalpolitics. 2. the emptiness argument. is empty. ch. 10 Taylor. 9 This content downloaded on Sat. ignores the necessity of social confirmationof our individual judgments. the rejectionof all communal and cultural values as ultimately arbitrary: one after the other.is finally empty.
A life with more autono- This content downloaded on Sat. but as a precondition for pursuing those projects and tasks that are valued for their own sake. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . It quickly leads to the quasi-existentialist view that we should wake up each morning and decide anew what sort of person we should be. then.12 12 Of course. there has to be some projectthat is worth pursuing. something to be pursued forits ownsake. we should have the freedom to form. But the concern for freedom within liberalismdoesn't take the place of these projects and tasks. it is our projects and tasks that are the most importantthings in our lives. and hence the more valuable our lives are.' Claiming that freedom of choice is intrinsically valuable may seem like a direct and effective way of defending a broad range of liberal freedoms. 192) attributes this position to Mill.an instructionthat Taylorrightlyrejectsas empty. in accordancewith our beliefs about value.). Instead. and it's because theyare so important that we should be free to revise and reject them. should we come to believe that they are not fulfillingor worthwhile. but since our lives have to be led from the inside. for most of us. revise and act on our plans of life. And indeed Mill does suggest that we should exercise our capacity for free choice because it is our 'distinctive endowment' (Mill. as Bernard Williams has argued at length.Liberalismand Communitarianism 187 and revise our projects is inherently valuable.the liberaldefense of freedom rests precisely on the importance of those tasks and projects. something to be valued for its own sake. some task that is worth fulfilling. he says.Liberalsaren'tsaying that we should have this freedom for its own sake. some liberals seem to believe that the exercise of such freedom of choice is also intrinsically valuable. Freedom of choice. But that is false. Robert Ladenson ('Mill's Conception of Individu4 ality. under favourable conditions. Isiah Berlin (Four Essays on Liberty[London: Oxford University Press 1969]. give our lives depth and character. Our projects are the most important things in our lives. isn't pursued for its own sake. And what makes them commitmentsis precisely that they aren't the sort of thing that we question every day. This is perverse because a valuable life. because freedom is the most valuable thing in the world. On the contrary. will be a life filled with commitments and relationships. of its free exercise. and indeed perverse. 116). the more free we are. 171) cites a number of other passages which that Mill is best understood as having 'attached the greatest importance suggest not to the mere exercise (or existence) of the capacity for choice. But the implications of that claim conflict with the way we understand the value in our own lives in at least two important ways: (1) Saying that freedom of choice is intrinsically valuable suggests that the more we exercise our capacity for choice. but to certain states of affairs and conditions which he believed are the consequences. We don't suppose that someone who makes twenty marriage choices is in any way leading a more valuable life than someone who has no reason to question or revise an original choice. These. but because without it we gain 'no practice either in discerning or desiring what is best' (ibid.' SocialTheoryand Practice . Rather. not for its own sake. But Mill immediately goes on to say that exercising that capacity is important.
' must they come from communal values or practices which are taken to be 'authoritativehorizons'?If freedom indeed has to be 'situated. The best defense is the one that best accordswith the way people on reflectionunderstandthe value of their own lives. telling people to act freely doesn't tell them what particularfree activitiesare worth doing.I pursue my writingfor its own sake.188 Will Kymlicka So no one disagrees that tasks and projects have to be our concern and goal . while centralto a valuable life.If I am writinga book. it presents a false view of our motivations.If we areto understand interestand valuepeople see in theirprojects we have to look to the ends which are internalto them. for example. Indeed. (2) Saying that freedom of choice is intrinsicallyvaluablesuggests that that the value we attemptto achieve in our actions is freedom. I do not pursue my writing for the sake of my freedom. and it raises very differentquestions. my motivationisn't to be free. But this is false. First. But even if it provided determinateguidance. is not the value which is centrallypursued in such a life. I have to careabout what I'm saying. The best liberaldefense of individualfreedoms is not necessarilythe most direct one. And. 118). becausethere arethings that areworth saying. The 'purposes' which are presupposed in the liberal account of the value of freedomcould come froman acceptance communalends of as authoritativehorizons.She accepts that action is directedat actachievingthe purposes internalto a given project. If writing is to be intrinsicallyvaluable. but to say something that is worth saying. This suggestion is endorsed by CarolGould (Marx's Social tology[Cambridge. not the value internalto Onthe activityitself. This is the heart of the communitarianposition. On the contrary. if I didn'treallywant to say anything. then my writing wouldn't be fulfilling. but whether they must be set for us by society. What and indifferentand ultiand how I write would become the results of arbitrary mately unsatisfying choices.the matrixof understandings and alternativespassed down to us bv previous generations. This content downloaded on Sat. if we look at the value of freedom in this way then it seems that freedom of choice.' does it follow that the individual has to be understood as 'situated'in some specific communal role or practice?I think it is one of the centralfallaciesof communitarianism make this equato tion. mous maritalchoices is not even ceterisparibusbetterthan a life with fewer such choices. I have to believe that writing is worth doing for its the own sake.MA: MITPress 1978]). The real debate is not over whether we need such tasks. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .and that 'one is apparently ing for the sake of these purposes themselves posited as externalaims/ But she goes on to say that truly free activityhas freedom itself as the ultimate end 'thus freedom is not only the activitythat creates value but is that for the sake of which all these other values are pursued and thereforethat with respect to which they become valuable'(Gould. except insofaras it's a way of being free. but they could also come from freely made personal judgments about the culturalstructure. If some purposes or ends must be taken as 'given.as Taylorrightly points out. Freedomis valuablebecause it allows me to say them.that is just a red herring in the debate.
Michael Sandel. since we reserve the right to question and reappraise even our most deeply held convictions about the nature of the good life. He has two differentargumentsfor this claimthat are worth separatargumentand the embeddeding. we've seen.13 what we put in 'the given' in order to make meaningful But judgments can not only be differentbetween individuals but also can change within one individual's life.' Our self is at least partly constituted by ends we haven't chosen. its ends . unset by the community. in an importantsense. The self-perceptionargumentgoes like this: the Rawlsian view of the 'unencumbered self' doesn't correspond with our 'deepest self-understanding'in the sense of our deepest self-perception.but ratherwhether an individual can substitute what is in 'the given. but by having the conditions needed to come to an awareness of these shared constitutive ends. Nothing is 'set for us/ nothing is authoritativebefore our judgment of its value. our lives go better not by having the conditions needed to select and revise our projects. however.Liberalismand Communitarianism 189 which offers us possibilities we can either affirmor reject. priorto its ends. argues that the self is not prior to. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .' or whether on the contrarythe given has to be 'set for us' by the community's values. 157. 161-5 bridge This content downloaded on Sat. we could latercome to questionthat commitment. Liberalism University Press 1982). There is nothing empty or self-defeating in the idea that these communalvalues should be subjectto individualevaluation and possible rejection. we must take something as 'given' .and ask what's valuable given our commitment to our family. The liberalview. Taylor'sargument against 'absolute freedom' fails to show anything in supportof the claimthat the given mustbe the authoritative horizons of communal values. Sandel. One can weaken the communitarianobjectionby arguing that even if we couldget our purposes this way.We should do this because the liberal view relies on a false account of the self. Of course in making that judgment. is that the self is. and the Limits of Justice(Cambridge: Cam13 Taylor. The question then is not whether we must take something as given . but in which we discover virtue of our being embedded some shared soby cial context. If at one time we make choices about what's valuablegiven our commitmentto a certainreligiouslife. which I've calledthe self-perception self argument.we can't distinguish 'me' from 'my ends.someone who is nothing but a free rationalbeing or a freely creative being would have no reason to choose one way of life over another. we nonetheless shouldtreat communal ends as authoritative. but rather constituted by. Since we have these constitutive ends. etc.
ultimately thin/ is 'radicallyat odds with our more familiarnotion of ourselves as being "thickwith particulartraits. is always to imply some subject "me" standing behind them. a self. to identify any characteristics as my aims.albeit an ultimately shape.16In contrast. quoting Robert Nozick 15 Michael Sandel. Our self is. and sometimes does. ratherghostly. 'Postmodernist Bourgeois Liberalism/ in R. Thus there is a furtherclaim that Sandel must that no end or goal is exempt from possible re-examination. 100. we don't perceive our selves as being essentially unencumbered . desires. There must always be some ends given with the self when we ends engage in such reasoning. in order that we have some reason to choose one over another as more valuable for us. and so on. Hermeneutics and Praxis (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press 1985). then we ends should. i. I would have to see myself as this propertylessthing. when introspecting.and this shows that some ends are constitutive of the self.190 Will Kymlicka According to this objection. For re- 14 Sandel.perceived prior to its ends. ambitions. or as Rortyputs it. Sandel says our deepest self-perceptions always include some motivations. as a kind of 'substrate'lying 'behind'my ends. a but that we understand ourselves to be prior to our ends.15 Therewould have to be this thing. change over the course of a lifetime. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Hollinger. As I said before. it seems that what is given with the self can. 217 This content downloaded on Sat. ed. But this doesn't that we can ever perceive a self totally unencumberedby any require ends . 86 16 Richard Rorty. at a certain distance. but it doesn't follow that any particular must always be taken as given with the self.e. in this sense.. standing at some distance thin behind our ends to acceptRawls. a disembodied. But the question of perception is at best misleading. Whatis cenhere tralto the liberalview is not that we can perceive self priorto its ends. object in space. a pure subject of agency and possession. 94. which has some shape. But as Nozick and Sandel note.be able to see through our particular to an unencumbered self. if the self is prior to its ends. in the sense examinationto be meaningfullyconducted we must be able to see our self encumberedwith differentmotivationsthan we now have. we can always envisage our self without its present ends.Rawls'conception of the self as 'given priorto its ends. The Procedural Republic and the Unencumbered Self/ Political Theory 12 (1984).the process of ethical reasoning is always one of comparing one 'encumbered'potential self with another 'encumbered'potential self.'"14 If we were Rawlsian selves.
he criticizes Rawls' account of community. This third argument contrasts the communitarianview of moral reasoning as self-discovery with the liberal view of moral reasoning as judgment. discerning its laws and imperatives and acknowledging its purposes as its own.Liberalismand Communitarianism 191 establish . 150 This content downloaded on Sat. Limits of Justice. because while Rawls allows that the good of community can be internal to the extent of engaging the aims and values of the self.17 For example. We don't consider ourselves trapped by our present attachments. No matter how deeply implicatedwe find ourselves in a social practiceor tradition. we feel capableof questioningwhether the practiceis a valuable one . For Sandel.by achieving awarenessof.for nobody thinksthis self-discovery closes judgments about how to lead one's life. 58 18 Ibid. as with Maclntyre..18 On a more adequate account..This. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 149 19 Ibid.e.(How can it not be valuable for me since the good for me just is coming to 17 Sandel. requiresa differentargument. it cannot be so thoroughgoing as to reach beyond the motivations to the subject of motivations. not only that we can'tperceive a totallyunencumbered end or self.a questioningwhich isn't meaningfulon Sandel'saccount. which I call the embedded-self argument.' not by choosing that which is already given (this would be unintelligible) but by reflecting on itself and inquiring into its constituent nature. communal aims and values are not just professed by the membersof the community. The not merely an attributebut a constituent of their identity. and acknowledgingthe claimsof. but that we can't perceive our self without some specific motivation.the shared pursuit of a communal goal is 'not a relationship they choose (as in a voluntaryassociation)but an attachmentthey discover.' But surely it is Sandel here who is violating our deepest selfreplacesor foreunderstandings. incapable of judging the worth of the goals we inherited (or ourselves chose earlier). but define their identity . the relevant question is not 'what should I be.'19 good for such membersis found by a process of self-discovery .i. what sort of life should I lead?' but 'who am I?'The self 'comes by' its ends not 'by choice' but 1>ydiscovery. however. the variousattachments they 'find.
and that the boundaries of the self are fluid. then Sandel has failed to show why the liberalview of the self is wrong. if it is indeed a meaningful question. This content downloaded on Sat. constituted by its ends. They disagree over where. although constituted by its ends. as an indispensablepartof leading the best possible life. 'the subjectis empowered to participatein the constitutionof its identity' . and which it will not. make choices about which of the 'possible purposes and ends all impinging indiscriminatelyon its identity' it will pursue. with no directrelevanceto political can philosophy. is one for the philosophy of mind.'as it were and so self-discoveryisn't enough. are nonetheless flexible and can be redrawn.on his account'the bounds of the self [are] open and the identity of the subject [is] the product The ratherthan the premise of its agency. for he's failed to show why individuto als shouldn'tbe given the conditions appropriate that re-examining. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and hence why liberalpoliticalmoralityis wrong. while attractive.both accept that the personis prior to her ends.fails to distinguish him from the liberal view.But these two differenceshide a more fundamental identity . Sandel admits it isn't just a question of self-discovery.21 The self. can be 'reconstituted. And amongst those conditionsshould be the liberalguaranteesof personalindependence necessary to make that judgment freely. In places. to draw the boundaries of the 'self . Sandel trades on an ambiguityin the view of the person that he uses in defending communitarianpolitics . He says that the boundaries of the self. So long as a person is priorto her ends.even the ends constitutive of her 'self . afterall.the strong claim (that selfdiscoveryreplacesjudgment)is implausible.Sandel claims that the self is There are apparent constituted by its ends. 152 21 Ibid. But at this point it's not clearwhether the whole distinction between the two views doesn't collapse entirely. and its boundariesare fixed antecedently.then he's failed to justifycommunitarian politics. differences here .192 Will Kymlicka a greaterself-awarenessof these attachmentsand practicesI find myself in?) The idea that moral reasoning is completed by this process of self-discovery(ratherthan by judgments of the value of the attachments we discover) seems pretty facile.and the weak claim(which allows that a self constitutedby its ends can nonetheless be reconstituted). incorporatingnew ends and excluding others. 20 Ibid.'20 subjectcan. whereas Rawls says that the self is prior to its ends. within the person.but this question. In his words.. Forso long as Sandel admitsthat the person re-examine her ends .
. someone else's cousin or uncle. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . this nation. I can only answer the question "What am I to do?" if I can answer the prior question "of what story or stories do I find myself a part?"22 LikeSandel.'26But if we can. I am someone's son or daughter. that tribe. 26 Ibid.Liberalismand Communitarianism 193 suffers from a similarambiguiMaclntyre'sargumentin AfterVirtue Sometimes he argues for an 'embedded self' view: ty. 204-5. 25 Ibid. he also says that the fact that the self has to find its moral identity in these communal traditions. 201 23 Ibid. But like Sandel. Maclntyre'sargumentagainst'liberalindividualism'rests on this claim that 'the story of my life is always embedded in the story so of those communitiesfrom which I derive my identity. put in question the 'rightfulexpectationsand obligations'of the roles and statuses we inhabit. I can always.'23 that decidhow I should live is just a matter of coming to an awareness of ing the various narrative'histories'or 'stories'I'm 'embedded' in. Hence what is good for me has to be the good for one who inhabits these roles . .24 Maclntyrerejectsthe possibility that our membershipin these communal roles can be put in question.25 He says that the good life is one spent in search of the good life. This content downloaded on Sat. if I wish to. the key question for men is not about their own authorship. if we can reject the value of the goods internalto a given prac- 22 Maclntyre. after all. put in question what are taken to be the merely contingent social features of my existence. 205 24 Ibid. and can roles this searchapparently involve rejectionof any of the particular I find myself in: 'rebellionagainst my identity is always one possible mode of expressing it. a member of this or that guild or profession. we all approach our own circumstances as bearers of a particular social identity. I belong to this clan. I am a citizen of this or that city. He contraststhis with the liberal individualist' standpoint. according to which I am what I myself choose to be. . practices and roles does not entail that the self has to accept the moral limitations of the particularity of those forms of community. and inthe terpreting goods specifiedin them.
I can interpretthe meaning of the social roles and practicesI find myself in. but also about theirvalue. then it's not clearhow Maclntyre'sview is any differentfrom the defense of comliberalindividualistone he claimsto reject. On this view.or a housewife she can interpretthe meaning of these shared religious. It makes no sense to say that they have no value for me. or the goals internalto them.his argumentagainstthe liberal view collapses. as worthless.'27 of phasize that we can interpretthe meaning these constitutive attachments. but that's implausible. or a housewife. since there is no 'me'standingbehind them. It's unclearwhich if any communitarianshold this view consistently. as a person. but by 'selfhousewife in a monogamous. But the question is whether we can rejectthem entirely should we come to view them as inherentlytrivialor even degrading. Maclntyreand Sandel both say that the liberalview ignores the way we are 'embedded' or 'situated'in our social relationships and roles. and the way communitariansview moral reasoning as a process of 'self-discovery'incorporatesthe sense in which liberals 27 Sandel. Since these attachmentsand ends are 'constitutive'of me.But she can't stand back and decide that she doesn't want to be a Christianat all.194 Will Kymlicka tice. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . we shouldn't. perhaps their idea of our 'embeddedness' isn't incompatible with our rejecting the attachments we find ourselves in. It isn't a plausibleposition. for the sense in which communitariansview us as 'embedded'in communalroles incorporates sense in which liberalsview us as indepenthe dent of them.our ends and goals come not by choice. But then the advertised contrast with the liberalview is a deception. emcommunitarians Of course. we neither choose nor reject these attachments.since we believe that we can question the value of such roles and statuses. ratherwe 'find' ourselves in them . 'Procedural Republic/ 91 This content downloaded on Sat. Perhapscommunitarians mean to deny that.Maclntyre's munitarianpolitics requiresthat my good be the good of someone in the social roles I currentlyoccupy. since we can and do make sense of questions not just about the meaning of the roles and attachmentswe find don't ourselves in. When Maclntyreallows for such questioning. On one interpretation.'self-interpreting beings. but I can't reject the roles themselves. as reflexive.'A Christian riage can interpretwhat it means to be a Christian. they have to be taken as given in deciding what to do with my life .we can't. economic and sexual practices. or at any rate.heterosexualmardiscovery. no self 'prior' to these constitutive attachments.the question of the good in my life can only be a question of how best to interprettheir meaning.
we can't believe in our judgments unless someone else confirmsthe judgment for us. not in the confident subordinationof it to one's purposes.' Rawls. in order to try to ensure that our judgments are confirmed by society.i. and social confirmationmust come in to supplement. 28 William Galston. Some people.28 point isn't that unconstrainedindividual choice is logically empty (as in Taylor)or that it presupposes a mistaken self-understanding(as in Sandel). however.but at the same time. To put it melodramatically.that is.and it has certainlybeen a The worryfor many liberals. and the confirmationof others is needed for firm belief. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 44-5. the conditions which give a person 'the secure conviction that his conception of the good. Ratherthe concernis that this vaunting of 'free individuality'will result not in confident mastery of one's environment. that we have the capacity. 440 This content downloaded on Sat.This argumentdoes not deny that we understandourselves as sovereign moral agents (i. Rawls.e. of judging the value of the purposes we could pursue). individual reflectionand choice.29Liberalsbelieve that self-respectis secured by providingthe conditionsfor freelyjudging and choosing our potential ends. but I thinkit is a powerful motivation for many communitarians. 543-4 29 Rawls. We lack faith in our own judgments.calls such self-respectthe most worth carrying importantprimarygood. is out. Government should encourage certaincommunal values. but claims that we need considerablesocial affirmationof that judgment in order to have any confidence in it. Justiceand the Human Good(Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1980). in doubt about the very value of one's life and its purposes. Now no one disputes the importanceof securing the social preconditions of self-respect . The fourth argument I want to consider is the social confirmation argument. his plan of life. No one's life goes well if led accordingto values they've chosen but don't reallybelieve in. or even limit. think ratherthe opposite . but ratherin existential uncertainty and anomie. and discourage non-conformingvalues. others can'tmake them for us .the tragedyof the human situationis that we do indeed think of ourselvesas morallysovereign .for example.that we alone can makethese judgments. The differences would be merely semantic.Liberalismand Communitarianism 195 view moralreasoning as a process of judgment and choice. guide.e. Thispoint is suggested by Williamsand Unger. and indeed the task. we only have confidence in our moraljudgments if they are protected socially from the eroding effects of our own individual rationalscrutiny. 441-2.
which desires event. 300 32 Bernard Williams.g. given Williams'vehement critiqueof 'Government House' Utilitarianism preciselysuch manipulationof people's moral for In and his desire for transparencyin ethical practices. it generates confidence via a process which people can't acknowledge as the grounds of their confidence.33 any beliefs. ed. 170 33 Williams. Kant. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .196 Will Kymlicka This is a very difficult question which I won't be able to answer to anyone'ssatisfaction. for then the subjectwould ascribethe determinationof its judgmentnot to its own reason. But it's worth noting one importantdifferencebetween the two positions. The communitarianview. 'Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Moral/ in The Moral Law. The liberalview operates through people's rationality. dently valid. This seems ironic.32But if it's fosteredby giving people causalreinforcement causes ratherthan as it were .e. 108-110. 109 31 Raz.i. reasons. 199 This content downloaded on Sat.31 not philosophical. but we can't stay with it unless we endorse it as indepenWilliamscorrectlysays that it is a socialor psychological. but to an impulse. We have to think we have good reasons our confidence.30 We can see ourselves as having come to a judgment for externalcausal reasons.then it must do so behind the backs of people. it generates confidence in the value of one's projects by removing any impediments or distortions in the reasoning process involved in making judgments of value. if this is what underlies their critiqueof liberalism. (London: Hutchinson 1948). H. operates behind the backs of the individuals involved . As Kant says we cannotpossiblyconceivea reasonconsciouslyreceivinga bias fromany other quarterwith respectto its judgments.We would lose that confidenceif we thought for our beliefs weren't rationallygrounded. a woman who in a traditionallysexist society nonetheless believes women and men to be equals). this solution is in conflict with the liberalview. upbringingand public discourse help foster confidence in moral judgments. but rathermerely caused.i. 30 I.e. it's also likely that the spread of the idea of individual self-determinationhas generated more doubt about the value of our projectsthan before. Paton. Ethicsand the Limitsof Philosophy(London: Fontana Press 1985).While some people obviouslycan sustain a sense of the worth of their purposes despite an absence of social confirmation (e.question which sorts of conditions. It must regard itself as the author of its principlesindependent of foreign influences.
are distressinglyobscurein Rorty. As sociologists.of this. But this criticism. I can't endorse that my life be made to go better in that way. Here he cites. and repeats.e.it accuses 'Kantian' liberals.like Rawls and Dworkin. more accurately. therefore.where nothing works behind the backs of its members .essentially a byproduct . making the right judgment in the light of good reasons).it supervenes on thought activitydirectedtowards another end (i. for Since the only plausiblejustification communitarian politicsworks behind the backs of people. But it does mean that communitarianismcan only be endorsed from the thirdperson perspective. it is incompatiblewith the liberal vision of an undistorted.e. 169 This content downloaded on Sat. transparentcommunity.. from the first-personperspective. that hardly settles the issue.where all causes are turned into reasons.34 from the inside. Rorty conflatesfour differentways of drawingthe contrast.and the contrastit's based on. Liberalsclearlywouldn't then support a programfor increasing moral confidence by a process that distorted conscious reasoning i.And Williamsis certainly and critical right to castigate those who extol uncertaintyratherthan accept that But possibility. This is Rorty'sargument. somebody who can distinguish her self horn her talents and interests 34 Ibid. the embodiment of rationality. Sandel's claim that we should think of the moral self. not as one of Rawls' original choosers. as contrastedwith 'Hegelian'liberals.and it's not clear that any of them is persuasive when made to stand on its own. It cannot be directly pursued. who recognize that a politicalmoralitycan only be defended by referhistoricaltraditionor interpreence to the sharedvalues of a particular tive community. we can agree that people's lives might go better if they had the moral confidence which comes when horizons' communalpracticesand traditionsare taken as 'authoritative reflectionon them is discouraged.Or. Of course. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . since it mightbe thatone values undistortedtransparency only if one has a priorcommitmentto the liberalview of the relationship between individual purposes and communal values. that causally influenced judgments independent of reasons. The confidence we desire in our moraljudgments is.Liberalismand Communitarianism 197 a society that is transparentlyintelligible .like Dewey.In fact. The fifth and final argumentI want to consider is that which accuses and liberalsof having an untenableaccountof moralityas transcultural ahistorical. The first way he describes the contrast focuses on the question of moral agency.
217 35 Rorty. but as a network of beliefs. It'sjust not true that restrictingmoraljustificationto appeals to our historicaltradition is a corollaryof Sandel's view of the self.'36 advises liberalsto drop these 'Kantianbuttresses. He goes on to accuse Kantianliberalsof an 'account of "rationality" and "moraliand and ty" as transcultural ahistorical. 36 Ibid.' Instead. desires and emotions with nothing behind it . a way that he thinks is equivalent to the first. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .with Sandel's 'embedded self' argument. have disastrous consequences for our abilityto sustain a sense of individual integrity and shared community.which they both say run very deep in our culture.216 37 Ibid. is mostly a matter of historical narratives . as much as any other.I think falls .217 38 Ibid. Sandel's view of moral agency.these aspects of our historicaltradition.. 205 This content downloaded on Sat.38 But Rortydoesn't urge this on us because we've adopted a Sandelian view of moral agency (although Rortypresents it as a 'corollary'). or at any rate.no substrate behind the attributes.. and not to the moral law as well. and are embedded in our everyday life and institutions.'39 cording or which encourage people to 'put in question what are taken to be the merely contingent social features of [their]existence. But I mention it just to distinguish it from the next way that Rorty draws the contrast.218 39 Unger. is a 'corollary'of it... liberalsshould try to convince our society that it 'need be responsible only to its own traditions.68 40 Maclntyre. could be philosophical grounds for questioning entire sections of our sections achistoricaltraditions. those Kantian-inspired to which 'the sharingof values is without ethicalsignificance.On the contrary.'37Ratherthan appeal to any ahistoricaltheory of justice. the moral justification of the institutions and practices of one's group .. rather than of philosophical metanarratives.198 Will Kymlicka and views about the good.. These are all criticismsof our historicaltraditionon the basis of that philosophicalview of the self that Rortyhas endorsed.35 Now this argument stands or falls .'40 According to Unger and Maclntyre..for example.
. there is the question of the meaningof our moral language.217 43 Ibid. but because of an epistemological theory which that 'rationalbehaviouris just adaptivebehaviourof a sort which says roughly parallelsthe behaviour.that is.of the other For membersof some relevantcommunity." Moralityis. a for matterof "we-intentions. which Rorty runs together.' or do we mean something which isn't tied in this way to our currentsocial practices?Rortythinks the former . she is saying that precisely because it is done around 41 Rorty."'44 Unfortunately Rorty. We have to drop the 'Kantianbuttresses'of a 'transculturaland ahistorical'account of rationalityand morality.216 This content downloaded on Sat.'42 Rorty. First.when a person appeals to morality.Liberalismand Communitarianism 199 The real reason Rorty rejects 'philosophicalmeta-narratives' that is he believes there are no such things .' On the contrary. When a Muslim woman in Egypt says 'sexual discrimination is wrong' she does not mean 'we don't do that around here. view about Butis it true that Kantianliberalshave some unacceptable transculturalmoral truth? Rorty gives the example of liberals who responded to the Vietnam war by attempting to rehabilitate Kantian notions in order to say. in similarcircumstances. but was immoral. one which we had no right to engage in in the first place.41 benot cause of any moraltheory about whether our ends are or are not constituents of the self. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .43 notions'are involved in makingsuch claims.' do we mean by that 'we don't do that around here..this epistemological theory applies as much to physics as it does to ethics. she appeals to a shared consciousness of beliefs and emotions 'which permit her to say "WEdo not do this sort of thing. And this is true whatever the relationshipis between the self and its ends.Sellarswas wrong to say that. with Chomsky. But what kind of TCantian and why should we give them up in favourof 'Hegelian'notions about appeals to historicaltradition?There are in fact three possible 'Kantian notions' involved here. that the war not merely betrayed America's hopes and interests and self-image. 216 42 Ibid.219 44 Ibid. there are no reasons which aren't reasons internal to a historical tradition or interpretive community. three different ways of drawing this contrast. When we say things such as 'slavery is wrong. as Wilfred Sellars has said..
and is very firmly embedded in all the myths.then she would be contradicting herself.they begin to discriminate).When we criticize or defend the values of our community. But perhaps the contrastisn't in their theory of meaning.' Rortydoes allow that we sometimes denounce the values of our own community. Kantian liberals. althoughit is approvedaroundhere/ is Now if Rorty was right about what moral language meant. climb the mountain.she wouldn't now mean 'The Ys don't do it in their community.is to walk out of the cave. xiv (emphasis added) This content downloaded on Sat.we know exactly what she means. and always has been done. on the ground. symbols and institutions of their history and society. But while the Muslim woman may well gesture at some other community as a moralexample. leave the city.for example. Then one describes the terrain of everyday life from far away . startby fashioningan objectiveand ahistoricalstandpoint.' But of course we can make sense of her claim . the meaning of our claims is not capturedby statementslike 'WEdo this' or THEYdon't do that.. Once we know what people mean by account of philosophical their moralstatements. Spheresof Justice(Oxford: Blackwell 1985). her claim that discrimination is wrong doesn't mean 'TheXs don't do it in their community. in the very meaning of our language. in the city.45 45 Michael Walzer. She is saying 'discrimination wrong.200 Will Kymlicka there.' She hasn't made two different claims which have different meanings. to the values of some other specific community. Any theory of meaning that says she has changed the meaning of her claim is simply mistaken.perhaps the original way .The meaning of our morallanguage isn't tied in this way to claimsabout the values of any particular community.. although we do do that around here. So it's just not true that when we say 'X is wrong.and instead appealed to some other example. He thinks such denunciations take the form of appealing. whom Rorty approvingly cites: One way to begin the philosophicalenterprise . the meaning of her claimwouldn't have changed at all . fashion for oneself (what can never be fashioned for ordinary men and women) an objective and universal standpoint.Hegelian liberalsstart with our intuitions and institutions.' If this is the contrast between Kantian and Hegelian liberals. Or so says Michael Walzer. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . how do we go aboutexaminingthem?Perhaps the differenceis this .on the otherhand. our shared values and community standards. She'd be saying 'we don't do that around here. But I mean to stand in the cave.' we mean'we don't do X around here. but in their method.' If she stopped gesturingto that community(because.and ask what is valuablefromthere. then Hegelian liberals are simply wrong.
by the somewhat unusual conditions which characterize the original position. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . then. we are 'impelledto go outside its sphere and to take a step into the field of practicalphilosophy in order to escape from the perplexityof opposing claims/47Of course the real target here is Rawls. for example.'49 One should not be misled. Cohen. 46 J. as some sort of a transcendental standpoint from which we survey the moral landscape. of course. 49 Rawls. 5. quoted in J.We those shared beliefs. 'Review of Spheres of Justice/ Journal of Philosophy 83 (1986). We need some way of teasing out their meaning and implications. for this contrast is wholly spurious. On the contrary. Rawls also starts with our widely shared intuitions about fairness. There are certainly serious disagreements about the enterprise of political philosophy. and why.e. Walzer."46 Even Plato and Kant start with such local and particularethical opinions as that justice is 'truth and returningwhat one takes/ and claim that we are ledto philosophy. The idea here is simply to make vivid to ourselves the restrictions that it seems reasonable to impose on arguments for principles of justice.and use these shared intuitions to construct a decision-makingprocess 'that incorporatesthese commonly shared presumptions. 467 48 See. he invokes the device of the originalposition.Liberalismand Communitarianistn 201 But if this is meant to be the crux of the matterthen the debate is simply a non-starter. and notes that they are vague. 18 50 Ibid.50 i.we startwith the shared with moralbeliefs. We startwith 'commonly shared presumptions' about sources of unfairness in determining principles of justice . incapableof providingguidancein those cases where help is needed. The premise of Rawls'argumentisn't the originalposition. is where. 79. the restrictionsimposed by our shared intuitions. Cohen. that people shouldn't be able to use advantages in power to affect the selection process in their favour .for example. This content downloaded on Sat. 467 47 Kant. and choose all our moralbeliefs. This. and his 'originalposition/48but the criticismis just as misplaced against him. and then describean originalposition in accordance in orderto work out their fuller implications. But it is wrong to say that they are importantly about where "to begin the philosophical enterprise.
at the end of the day. and we'd have to wait and see how far the reasons have taken us at the end of the day. then it wouldn't be objectionable. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . that every attempt to show that they do exist has failed. This is certainly possible. then we'd be generalizedto other sorts of trans-cultural have good reason to accept that Rorty'sprediction about the limits of practicalreason had turned out to be true. Cohen. that none of these argumentsis compelling. a spurious way of avoiding the need to examine the argumentsof Kantianliberals. It's 51 Ibid.. is that his examination of the arguments is so incomplete.It would be just speculation.Wherethere may be a difference isn't in theirbeliefs about where to begin the philosophicalenterprise. and Dworkin allows for it. A Matterof Principle(London: Harvard University Press 1985). the only reason we can give for our actions is that 'this is what we do around here. We'd have to see whether there are standards of rational persuasion which aren'ttied to a particularhistoricaltradition.Maclntyre says that the best reason we have to reject trans-culturalaccounts of rights is the same reason we have to reject the existence of witches . 'the notions of community and shared values markthe limitsof practical reason. but about where that enterprise must end up.' not just its point of departure. what was an open question at the beginning of the day. Perhaps.202 Will Kymlicka are to look at the originalposition 'as an expositorydevice which sums up the meaning of these [intuitions]and helps us to extracttheir consequences/51It is a device for working through the meaning and consequences of our shared moral beliefs.54 Now that is the right kindof argument. his conclusion far too hasty.on the contrary. 21 52 J. So the idea that there is some greatdifferencebetween Hegelian and Kantianliberalson this question of where to beginthe moralconversation is wholly spurious. which appeal to localized and particularstandards. and if it could moraltheories. Maclntrye'sclaim is based on an examinationof these arguments.i. 467 53 Ronald Dworkin. and he concludes.e. of course. and if it were true. For Walzer and Rorty.e.' i. 176 54 Maclntyre. The only weakness in Maclntyre'sargument. 67 This content downloaded on Sat. not shared by others.53In AfterVirtue.52 Now if this was just a prediction about the limits of practicalreason. from such arguments at the end it's one of the things we can conclude of the day. But notice that this isn't an objection to trying to give Kantianarguments .
Progress will only be made when the rhetoricis dropped. 56 I would like to thank G. the second. is dogmatic.and that is just dogmatism. Now this. or to the broaderpoliticaltheorywhich is based on it.56 ReceivedJune. A.Rorty has decided he doesn't even have to examine the theories .and Culture (Oxford: Oxford University Press forthcoming ). If Maclntyreis too hasty in his examination. about the meaning of morallanguage.55But we get nowhere towards identifying these probor lems by invoking old slogans about 'abstract' 'atomistic'individualwhich have stood in the way. There may be other.certainlydoes distinguish Rortyfrom Kantianliberalswho don't accept that we can know in advance what are the limits to practicalreason. Cooper for helpful comments on an earlier draft. and any predictionsare rather idle ones at this point. or takenthe place of.Liberalismand Communitarianism 203 too early in the day to draw such conclusions.M. and the third. slogans analysis. about the limits of moral conversation. But in factRortyand Walzeraren'tjust predictingthat there are such limits to practicalreasoning. They claim to knowsuch limits exist They claimto know of they claimto know this in advance thearguments. This way of drawing the contrastbetween Hegelian and Kantianliberalsis very differentfrom the other ways.Community. thatKantian theorieswon't work.There are no grounds for deciding in advance what the limits of practicalreasoning are. despite Rorty'sconflation. Cohen. serious ism.E. Macleod and W. 1987 55 I discuss communitarian objections to these broader issues of liberal political theory in chapter 4 of Liberalism. that reasons will only be compelling to particularhistoricalcommunities.i.e. more defensible moral objectionsto the view of the self that I'vetriedto outline and defend. before these reasons have been advanced. Rorty and Walzer simply liberal presupposewhat Maclntyreattemptsto show . to use a neutral term. So Rorty's'Hegelian'argumentagainstthe Kantiannotions'involved in Rawls' and Dworkin'sview of moralitycan be taken in three ways .the first. is spurious. is false. This content downloaded on Sat. the dogmatic objection to Kantianliberalism.A. about the starting-pointof moral conversation. 2 Feb 2013 09:16:52 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . unlike the question of where to begin the conversation. and in orderto distinguish it clearlywe can call it.
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