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• Salman Rushdie - ‘The migrant condition is one of uprooting, disjuncture and metamorphosis”1. Communitarianism• Modern liberal theorists place great stress on the autonomous individual leading his own life plan• His rights are the liberties and protections needed to protect this ideal• The liberal autonomy of Rushdie’s vision is choice running rampant, and pluralism internalized from the relations between individuals to the chaoticcoexistence of projects, pursuits, ideas, images and snatches of culture within an individual which is in part the cosmopolitan view• The cosmopolitan is one who does not choose to be defined by his location, ancestry, citizenship or language• "Community” is a term which is hard to have a sense of the scope and scale of.• “community” in the sense of ethinic community is a term worth attention where people have a shared sense of life• Johann Gottfried Von Herder asserts that the need to belong to a particular group is among basic human needs• What if belonging is not the main important need, but rather having others respect one’s way of life regardless of whether they participate in the same wayof life2. Minority culture as a human right• In modern discussions of human rights there is a claim that particular cultures, communities, and ethnic traditions have a right to exist and a right to beprotected form decay, assimilation, and desuetude• What it means to protect these cultures is vague• What does it mean to enjoy one’s culture?• The key is nondiscrimination against minority cultures3. A thin theory of good• Any political theory must be grounded on some assumption as to what human life is like• What philosophers call “thin” theories are those which serve as a bare framework for conceptualizing choices, but also leaves the individual to fill thosechoices• we need this thin theory to say something about the the shape of individual lives in relation to matters such as society, community, politics and justice• There is an assumed difference between lifestyle and background4. Opposition and Authenticity• A world in which cosmopolitanism that allows for people to feel displaced begins to flourish is one that is not safe for minority culture.• Experience shows that they wither and die in the reality of modern life and that those who hold these cultures live their lives demoralized and in misery• Suppose a freewheeling cosmopolitan life, lived with a kaleidoscope of cultures, is both possible and fulfilling• The argument for protecting minority cultures in this case goes away because it can no longer be said that people need their rootedness in a particularculture but can rather choose to preserve their way of life• This argument undercuts Herder’s assertion that we need that sense of belonging• The sheer existence of the cosmopolitan alternative undercuts the clauses for the protection of minority culture• Salman Rushdie puts in a strong argument for the cosmopolitan view of life in that the hybrid lifestyle of the cosmopolitan view is the only appropriateresponse to the modern world in which we live• We live in a world formed by technology and trade. The world has changed.• Thus the charge against preserving those aboriginal cultures is that they are inauthentic as to what is actually going on in the world• If we accept the other hand that rootedness in a culture is necessary for human well-being, then the claims made by Rushdie seem to be deviant andeccentric and not relevant to human liberty, but rather another way of life• From this point of view purported by the defenders of minority culture, Rushdie’s view are inauthentic.• They could claim that Rushdie’s views show the worst about classic liberalism namely that it supports atomism, abstraction and alienation from one’sroots, vacuity of commitment, indeterminacy of character, and ambivalence towards the good7. Our Debt to the Global Community• The advantage of focus on the cosmopolitan ideal is that it forces us to assess the broader basis of friendship and community that contributes to one’s senseof belonging• Many of us owe our allegiance to increasing more international communities such as those of international scholars, human rights movements, feministmovements, artistic communities that all transcend borders and nationalities• The modern realization of Aristotelean friendship contains those who are good at orienting themselves in common pursuit of virtues• We are not self-made atoms of intense liberalism, but neither are we exclusively products of single national or ethnic communities• National communities have an obligation to recognize their dependence on the wider social, political, international and civilizational structures that sustainthem• There is a reality to our communal life• Minority cultures need larger political and international structures to protect and sustain the cultural goods that they pursue8. Kymlicka’s view of the social world A. The importance of cultural membership• The cosmopolitan strategy is not to deny the role of culture in the constitution of human life, but to first question the assumption that the social world divides upneatly into particular distinct cultures, one to every community, and secondly the assumption that one need to pick and choose just one of these cultures• Kymlicka’s starting point is thus a Rawlsian conviction about the importance of the freedom to form, reform, and revise individual beliefs about what makes lifeworth living• Kymlicka argues that to achieve this people need to have a wide array of options and a clear understanding of those options and that people cannotchoose a conception of good for themselves in isolation• The decision for how to lead our lives must be ours alone• We decide how to lead our lives in the context of a cultural narrative• Kymlicka follows that liberals should still be concerned with preserving cultural structure not because they have inherent moral status, but rather becausethrough having a rich and secure cultural structure that people can become vividly aware of the options available to them, and intelligently examine their value.• Waldren asserts that this need not be the case and that we can take fragments of cultures and still preserve the meaningfulness of those cultures• Waldren says Kymlicka does not show the importance of membership to culture but only shows the importance of access

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Rice PHIL 307 - Communitarianism

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