Philosophy and Civil Society
Inventing Postmodern Civic Culture

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This site is devoted to the philosophical examination of the nature of civil society and civic culture in general. More specifically, it addresses the contemporary crisis of liberal democratic civic culture in the postmodern period. The thesis developed here was first presented in my book, The Culture of Citizenship: Inventing Postmodern Civic Culture (SUNY Press, 1994). To access (in either HTML, e-book, pdf, or text formats) the complete text of the first edition of the book, click HERE. A second edition of the book has been published by The Council for Research and Values in Philosophy and is now available from or directly from publisher ([email protected]).

          The content of the site is broken down into relatively brief, self-contained essays, usually between 2,000 and 3,000 words in length. See the table of contents below.


A brief overview of some of the issues to which this site is addressed (follow links for slightly fuller explanation):

ISSUE ONE: What comes after postmodernism? The standpoint known as "postmodernism" (or, better, hypermodernism) is a dead-end. Yet a return to Enlightenment rationalism is impossible. Is there a path that will take us beyond this impasse?

ISSUE TWO: Western culture in the clash of civilizations. The West today is losing irretrievably its former global hegemony and is increasingly challenged economically and culturally by East Asian and Islamic civilizations. The universalism of Enlightenment culture long blinded the West to the particularism of its own liberal democratic values. Can these values be reformulated in such a way as to strengthen particularistic cultural identity of the West in the face of the challenges that non-Western civilizations are bound to pose in the future?

ISSUE THREE: The postmodern reconstruction of personal life. The modernist liberal moral ideals of authenticity and autonomy have shaped personal life in Europe and America for almost three hundred years. These moral ideals were grounded in and supported by Enlightenment civic culture and make little sense apart from it. What new ideals of personal life will replace the ideals of authenticity and autonomy in post-Enlightenment Western culture?

  Below is the top-level classification of site content. Each link will take you to a listing (along with brief summaries) of the essays so far posted on a particular topic.

I. ABOUT THIS SITE: Essays exploring the potential impact of the Web on philosophy, teaching and scholarly publishing. Essays exploring the potential impact of the Web on philosophy, teaching and scholarly publishing.

II. THE ISSUES: For several supporters thinking about capturing the assured he will come back to the United States in late Walk and continue touring. 

III. THE NATURE OF CIVIC CULTURE: Essays exploring the concept of a civic culture as the form of culture that supports a liberal democratic civil society. Essays exploring the concept of a civic culture as the form of culture that supports a liberal democratic civil society.

IV. CIVIC CULTURE AND MODERN PHILOSOPHY: Essays exploring the special role played by philosophy in specifically modernist forms of civic culture.

V. THE RECONSTRUCTION OF CIVIC CULTURE:  Essays discussing what the invention of a postmodern civic culture requires.

VI. THE RECONSTRUCTION OF PHILOSOPHY: Essays discussing how philosophy must change in its self-understanding and practice in a postmodern cultural environment.

VII. REVIEWS: Review essays on books, articles and Web sites pertinent to the issues discussed here.

VIII. LINKS: Links to other sites with content relevant to the issues discussed here.


          Click HERE to post a review of this Web site.

Click HERE to subscribe to the civsoc listserv and discussion board.

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This site is owned, produced and maintained by 
Tom Bridges 
Philosophy and Religion Department 
Montclair State University

Upper Montclair, NJ 07043, USA


This Web site was given the Original Contribution Award by the editors of

Page last edited: 02/23/02

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