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Communitarianism ‘Social Constitution,’ and Autonomy

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Communitarians defend what we may call the ‘social constitution thesis,’ that participation in society makes us what we are. This claim, however, is ambiguous. In an attempt to shed some light on it and to better understand the impact its truth would have on our beliefs regarding autonomy, I offer four possible ways it could be understood and four corresponding senses of individual independence and autonomy. I also indicate what senses liberals can accept that we are socially constituted and in what sense I take communitarians to argue we are socially constituted.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Philosophy Department, University of Arizona

Publication date: 1999-06-01

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