Liberalism, Communitarianism and the Space Between: In praise of kindness

Journal of Moral Education 29 (2):133-147 (2000)
Abstract
This paper argues that liberalism and communitarianism provide views of the moral life that are both too narrow. Communitarianism roots the moral life in the norms of particular communities. Liberals argue that communitarianism is likely to be parochial and sectarian. Liberalism has sought for norms that are universal and generalizable. Communitarians claim that liberalism is a "view from nowhere" that is more likely to produce rootlessness and anomie than justice . This paper seeks for a "space between". Its principle claim is that moral capacities such as empathy and sympathy and conceptions such as kindness and decency occupy a space between liberalism and communitarianism because, while they depend on attachments more than principles, they are evoked by characteristics of others that are not rooted in group membership or shared identities
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