AMERICAN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY. AN UNFINISHED DEBATE
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The author begins by drawing a distinction between an earlier stage of contemporary American political philosophy, informed by the Rawls-Nozick-Walzer debate, and a later stage geared towards social issues such as multiculturalism. His point is that the earlier debate was incomplete because an important group of views went underrepresented. This becomes clear when one use two variables to classify the main political theories: higher taxes and more social services versus lower taxes and fewer social services (economic left and right) and the level of individualism versus collectivism (liberals and communitarians). This gives us four positions: left-wing liberalism, left-wing communitarianism, right-wing liberalism and right-wing communitarianism. The author claims that right-wing communitarianism is barely represented in the debate that grounded today's political philosophy. He sketches a version of conservatism, relying mostly on Nisbet and Kirk, to illustrate the missing position of right wing communitarianism. Although he does not endorse many aspects of conservatism as right-wing communitarianism, he argues that it is a theoretically viable option and suggest that sociological reasons may explain why it is underrepresented among professional philosophers. As a part of the argument he also outlines a position called equality without egalitarianism.
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