Diminishing solidarity

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 1 (3):355-373 (1998)
Cases of acts of solidarity can be divided into at least two groups. Solidarity in a narrow sense of the term refers to what I label project-related solidarity; it is prevalent in the modern world at least as much as it was found in past worlds. In contrast, the philosophical discussions of "solidarity" refer to the altruism and mutuality typically found in close human relationships. This concept of "solidarity" is theoretically unfruitful and even misleading. I propose to abandon the term "solidarity" in order to regain sight of the individual phenomena. When these are taken into consideration, a return to the community is no longer called for. I rather argue that modern societies are perfectly capable of inspiring feelings of loyalty and civic virtues, though not by resorting to the old sources of "solidarity". Modern forms such as free associations, participation and, not least, the existence of a liberal society itself are sufficient. Public discussions of solidarity are additionally distorted by frequent appeals to a normative sense of the term. The argument put forward in this collectivist context that an obligation of solidarity results from gratefulness to the community is not found to be convincing. Individuals are not obliged to be grateful to a nation in a way that would be normatively binding.
Keywords community  family  personal relationships  liberalism  solidarity  social cohesion  welfare state
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1009965816147
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,411
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

View all 10 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Carol C. Gould (2007). Transnational Solidarities. Journal of Social Philosophy 38 (1):148–164.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

41 ( #117,924 of 1,924,732 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

4 ( #211,819 of 1,924,732 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.