Huw Price
Cambridge University
Philip Pettit
Australian National University
The dustjacket of The Common Mind bears a photograph of the traffic at a Sydney intersection on a wet winter’s evening in 1938. It is rush hour, and the homeward traffic conveys a fine sense of common purpose. The scene has a special resonance for me, for I stood at that very spot with my parents and brothers one similar evening in 1966, on the day we first arrived in Australia. There was a marked pedestrian crossing there then, which we set out to negotiate, taking it for granted that the relevant conventions were those we were used to in rural England. But pedestrians and rush hour traffic were both under the control of a policeman—one of his predecessors can be seen in the photograph—who had just given the traffic priority. He loudly familiarised us with the local customs, and the kind of emotions we felt play an important part in Philip Pettit’s vision of the possibility and grounds of a satisfactory human society: the approval and disapproval of the community provides an intangible hand that guides defaulters into line.
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DOI 10.2307/2108449
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