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A Discription Of Contemporary Liberalism And Communitarianism.

919 words - 4 pages

Liberalism is the leading and background theory in contemporary political ideologies. As Bellamy states, twentieth-century liberalism has a broad area, from New Right conservatives to democratic socialists; it makes everyone seems a liberal. One of its major critics is communitarianism.Communitarianism sees individuals as strongly linking in community, and their debates with liberalisms are basically founded in the contemporary liberal John Rawls's theory, and especially focus on his milestone book "A Theory of Justice". This book awakened a new look to political theory during 1970s and it continues. Most of liberalism's critics or defenders rely on Rawls's theories or related theories. In this article I prepare to introduce the both political philosophies and clarify some crucial debates from communitarianism to Rawls. Firstly, I like to make a brief introduction to contemporary liberalism, particularly on Rawls's theory of justice and his principle of justice. Secondly, I will illustrate communitarian's main ideas and their arguments with Rawls, which are the questions to Rawls's original position and individualism. Finally, I will give my opinions to the debates and defend Rawls by following Rawls's contexts.The Features of Contemporary Liberalism.The characters of modern liberalism could not be specifically defined, but we can consult the fine explanation given by John Gray (1986, x):It is individualist, in that it asserts the moral primacy of the person against the claims of any social collectivity; egalitarian, inasmuch as it confers on all men the same moral status and denies the relevance to legal or political order of differences in moral worth among human beings; universalist, affirming the moral unity of the human species and according a secondary importance to specific historic associations and cultural forms; and meliorist in its affirmation of the corrigibility and improvability of all social institutions and political arrangements.No matter which extreme side of liberalism's area, modern liberalism insists and preserves the concepts of equality, liberty, rights, individuality and rationality. We can see it mostly mirrors the economic and social systems in modern Western Europe. It has been rooted in our daily life and became a dominant ideology. It does not entail people being or thinking the same but emphasizes the moral basis of equality of everyone, in their rights and duties. Also, following western individualism tradition, liberalism wishes the best achievement of everyone, that's the sense of positive freedom held by Hegel, freedom involves the chance for self-realization, liberty is not merely to act freely without impeding others. Contemporary liberals like Isaiah Berlin questioned the Hegelian conception of liberty; they hold that liberty is different from self-realization, since people have different kinds of life goal or self-realization, someone's final goal might be another one's obstacle, so it is...

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