Civic Culture and Modern Philosophy
Philosophy and Civil Society

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          Click on the links below to go to essays.

1. The Collapse of Enlightenment Civic Culture
The form of civic culture dominant in the West for three hundred years was based upon the ideas of modernist liberal political philosophy, ideas that are increasingly losing their credibility and thereby threatening the viability of the form of civic culture based on them. (944 words, 16KB) 

2. The Anti-Rhetorical Rhetoric of Pure Theory
The peculiar form of universalism and essentialism proper to modernist liberal political philosophy created an equally peculiar form of liberal democratic civic culture, one that could achieve its rhetorical task only by denying its own rhetorical character. (3,083 words, 35KB)

3. The Misrepresentation of Citizenship in Social Contract Theories
Modernist liberal political theory's use of social contract narratives to define a concept of civic justice falsely represented the normative standpoint of liberal democratic citizenship as possessing an historical or anthropological priority to other cultural standpoints, a misrepresentation that must be overcome if the postmodern reconstruction of civic culture is to succeed. (2,499 words, 31KB)

4. Citizenship and the Myth of the Autonomy of Reason
Modernist civic culture linked the normative standpoint of citizenship with the foundationalist epistemological doctrine of the autonomy of reason and, as a result, the postmodern reconstruction of civic culture requires a not only a radical rethinking of our concept of citizenship, but also a radical critique of our concepts of reason and knowledge. (3,700 words, 41KB)

5. The Modernist Civic Moral Ideals of Authenticity and Autonomy
Modernist civic culture provided resources for motivating development of civic virtues and attitudes by identifying that development with a certain kind of self-realization -- the kind of self-realization proper to the moral ideals of personal authenticity and autonomy. (2,642 words, 32KB)

6. Motivating Citizenship by Undermining Morality in General
Modernist civic culture interpreted the liberal doctrine of the priority of the right over the good as the priority of self-realization over the realization of communitarian moral ideals, thereby undermining not only the moral authority of particularistic conceptions of the good, but also the authority of civic moral ideals. (3,369 words, 38KB)

7. Consequences of the Modernist Liberal Abandonment of Classical Conceptions of Practical Philosophy
The Enlightenment's transformation of moral philosophy into a field of theoretical knowledge produced forms of civic culture and civic education that could not be acknowledged as such and that wedded civic moral ideals ideologically to the "scientific world view." (2,410 words, 29KB)

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Page last edited: 01/20/02

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