Reconstructing Civic Culture
Philosophy and Civil Society

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          Click on the links below to go to essays.

1. Salvaging Liberalism from the Wreck of the Enlightenment
The lingering influence of modernist liberal political ideas constitutes one of the greatest obstacles to the postmodern reconstruction of civic culture. (2,670 words, 33KB)

2. The Rhetorical and Teleological Turns in Postmodern Liberalism 
A postmodern civic culture must differ from modernist civic culture in two ways: (1) it must embrace the cultural particularism and contingency of liberal democratic values (the rhetorical turn) and (2) it must reverse the priority given by modernist liberalism to the right over the good (the teleological turn). (1,179 words, 18KB)

3. The Rhetorical Turn and the Intelligibility Crisis in Contemporary Civic Culture
The postmodern shift from the metaphysical liberalism proper to modernist civic culture to a political or rhetorical liberalism requires a rethinking of virtually every aspect of liberal democratic citizenship, a rethinking that will seem to some like a rejection of liberal moral ideals altogether. (2,147 words, 27KB)

4. The Cultural Dependence of the Public Sphere in Postmodern Civic Culture
Modernist liberalism represented the cultural perspectives proper to the liberal democratic public sphere as possessing a certain primacy and self-sufficiency in relation to communitarian cultures, a relationship that must be reversed by any viable postmodern civic culture. (2,491 words, 30KB)

5. Civic Justice and the Need for an Overlapping Consensus
The perspective proper to the liberal democratic public sphere is a perspective on the whole of society, but only with respect to one issue -- the issue of civic justice; to generate the cultural resources necessary to produce a commitment to civic justice among citizens, a postmodern civic culture must depend upon an overlapping consensus on the part of particularistic cultural communities. (3,459 words, 38KB)

6. The Teleological Turn and the Problem of Motivation in Postmodern Civic Culture
The modernist moral ideals of authenticity and autonomy, with the the demise of Enlightenment culture, have lost their power as motivational components of civic culture and a postmodern form of civic culture must create new motivational resources, resources that represent persuasively the development of civic moral and intellectual capacities as a final good. (3,218 words, 36KB)

7. Beyond the Culture Wars and towards an Overlapping Consensus Supportive of the Pursuit of the Civic Good
The  rhetorical and teleological turns in postmodern liberal political philosophy define the shape and the tasks of a viable postmodern form of civic culture. (2,408 words, 29KB)

8. The Civic Good as an Analogue of the Christian Good
In order to contribute to an overlapping consensus in support of liberal moral ideals, adherents of particularistic cultural traditions must identify or develop resources within those traditions that encourage the pursuit of civic justice and civic freedom. One example of this kind of political-cultural project: developing the analogy between Christian and liberal conceptions of the good.  (5,743 words, 52KB)

9. Civic Friendship as an Analogue of the Christian Love of Neighbor
he libertarian and egalitarian nature of Christian love of neighbor can be perceived as analogous to the libertarian and egalitarian nature of civic friendship. (4,065 words, 44KB)

10. God and the Space of Civic Discourse
The Christian narrative synthesis of "other-worldly" and "this-worldly" desire can serve as model for a synthesis of civic and communitarian virtue (4,426 words, 47KB)

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Page last edited: February 23, 2002

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