PSCI432: The Idea of Community
Political thinkers regularly claim to have discovered the community best suited to man, the just community. Yet suspicion toward the idea of community also enjoys a venerable history. Is not the individual prior to, and thus more important than, the community? Don't communities typically stifle, violate, and oppress individuals, particularly members of the minority? Individualism is so pervasive in the most advanced countries that many now wonder if we have gone too far. Has concern for the individual at the expense of the community made us selfish, disconnected, alienated, and unhappy? In this seminar we will read classic statements on the ideal community (e.g., Plato, Thomas More, Rousseau, Huxley) on our way toward studying contemporary "communitarian" thinkers (e.g., Bellah, Barber, McIntyre, Sandel, Walzer). Prerequisite: sophomore standing.