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The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 12, 2001

Intercultural Philosophy

D. A. Masolo
Pages 209-228
DOI: 10.5840/wcp2020011245

Communitarianism
An African Perspective

How is the sense (knowledge and feelings) of community produced? What roles do various units of society play in producing such knowledge and feelings? What are the values of the ethic engendered by such knowledge and feelings? I suggest that a communitarian theory indigenous to African culture enables us to respond to these questions. Against the objections of those who advocate an ideology of modern democratic liberalism, I argue that the values of individual worth and freedom are indeed compatible with those of communitarianism. Further, while I agree that communities are natural orders into which individuals are born, I deny any ontological determinism that would seek to restrict such orders in terms of ethnicity or race. Rather, communities also need to be understood as products of deliberate human organization and choices.

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