Moral Dialogue in the Thought of Amitai Etzioni

Moral Dialogue in the Thought of Amitai Etzioni Jonathan Marks The Responsive Communitarian Platform states that communitarians "favor strong democracy." Among the features that distinguish new, responsive communities from old, authoritarian communities is the "genuine dialogue" that takes place in them.1 Dialogue is the answer to at least two objections to communitarianism. First, doesn't communitarianism license the majority to impose its views on minorities? On the contrary, responsive communities are consensual, not majoritarian, and dialogue is the means by which consensus develops. Second, isn't communitarianism nostalgic? On the contrary, communitarian dialogue explains how communities respond creatively to historical change without coming apart and without succumbing to the rule of bureaucrats and experts. In this essay, I will focus on Amitai Etzioni's recent articulation of the idea of moral dialogues.2 I will begin by explaining how the idea of moral dialogues arises in response to a problem Etzioni articulates in his 1968 work, The Active Society.3 Then, I will consider how well the idea of moral dialogues addresses that problem. The use of the term "strong democracy" in the Responsive Communitarian Platform and Benjamin Barber's involvement in the communitarian movement at the time of the platform's drafting suggests that any full treatment of communitarian dialogue would have http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Good Society Penn State University Press

Moral Dialogue in the Thought of Amitai Etzioni

The Good Society, Volume 14 (1) – Jan 12, 2005

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Publisher
Penn State University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 by The Pennsylvania State University.
ISSN
1538-9731
Publisher site
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Abstract

Jonathan Marks The Responsive Communitarian Platform states that communitarians "favor strong democracy." Among the features that distinguish new, responsive communities from old, authoritarian communities is the "genuine dialogue" that takes place in them.1 Dialogue is the answer to at least two objections to communitarianism. First, doesn't communitarianism license the majority to impose its views on minorities? On the contrary, responsive communities are consensual, not majoritarian, and dialogue is the means by which consensus develops. Second, isn't communitarianism nostalgic? On the contrary, communitarian dialogue explains how communities respond creatively to historical change without coming apart and without succumbing to the rule of bureaucrats and experts. In this essay, I will focus on Amitai Etzioni's recent articulation of the idea of moral dialogues.2 I will begin by explaining how the idea of moral dialogues arises in response to a problem Etzioni articulates in his 1968 work, The Active Society.3 Then, I will consider how well the idea of moral dialogues addresses that problem. The use of the term "strong democracy" in the Responsive Communitarian Platform and Benjamin Barber's involvement in the communitarian movement at the time of the platform's drafting suggests that any full treatment of communitarian dialogue would have

Journal

The Good SocietyPenn State University Press

Published: Jan 12, 2005

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