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Communitarian Ethics


Title: Communitarian Ethics
Subject Classification: Community, Philosophy, Politics and Government
BIC Classification: JFS, HP, JP
BISAC Classification: PHI019000, POL042000, POL011000
Binding: Hardback, Paperback, ebook, pp.218
Publication date: 31st August 2023
ISBN (Hardback): 978-1-80441-168-1
ISBN (Paperback): 978-1-80441-436-1
ISBN (ebook): 978-1-80441-169-8


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Ethics is understood as a social practice developed by human beings through their living together as members of actual communities. Implicit in communal membership is a mutual commitment to pursue one’s good within common and binding rules. Whereas individualism holds that the rights and duties of human beings arise from their inherent worth as individuals, communitarianism says that our rights and duties arise from participation in the ethical entity that is created through communal bonds.

The book derives from this ethical idea, some basic substantive norms that are valid for every political community. Secondly, it applies the ethical idea to some fundamental variations in communal forms but focuses especially on modern industrial economies and their appropriate political superstructures.

The third part of the book discusses attempts to create a global ethical community in the form of a community of states that treat each other and each other’s members as ethical ends, despite disagreements over the actual rights that they accord to their members.

The key audience for the book is researchers and students in the fields of ethics, political philosophy/theory, social philosophy, legal philosophy, and history of political thought.


Author: John Charvet is Professor Emeritus in Political Science, London School of Economics, UK


Communitarian Ethics is a work of profound depth and importance. John Charvet argues that ethical duties cannot coherently arise from a claim of the inherent value of individuals. Instead, he argues for an understanding of ethics as the product of ethical communities. Combining moral and political philosophy, the book examines the substantive content of the communitarian view of ethics in modern industrial states, in the relations between states, and the implications in both cases for the political structures required. Written in clear and accessible prose, Communitarian Ethics offers a significant challenge to, and reconstruction of, our understanding of ethics.

- Matt Matravers, Professor of Law, University of York, UK.

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