Digest of terms

community

In ethics conceptions of community typically involve a positive valuation of sets of social relations, but differ regarding the nature and quality of the ones to be prized. These vary from, for example, traditional interaction in relatively small and closely-knit groups, to the kinds of rootedness claimed in nationalism, to the religious ties between fellow members of a universal church or global Muslim umma. Yet across the spectrum great significance is attached to a sense of solidarity and a sense of belonging as bestowing worth on people's lives.

For communitarians the interests of the group take precedence over those of the individual; for liberals community as an acceptable moral ideal must, crucially, incorporate a 'right of exit' for the individual as a core protection from group coercion - which means that for them, at the deepest level, community is rooted in a form of individualism.

In Moral Education the theory and practice of a just community is central to the school based approach of Lawrence Kohlberg.

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