Moderate Communitarianism: A Conceptual Interpretation
Keywords:Gyekye, moderate communitarianism, individual rights, community, Afro-communitarianism
Kwame Gyekye’s moderate communitarianism is considered a defence of individual rights and the equal worth of rights and duties in Afro-communitarianism. It concerns the primary status of rights and duties in modern African thought. However, moderate communitarianism has been received with strong reactions, one of which is the supposed serious consideration it gives to duties and community in the final analysis of its argument regarding the conception of personhood and the relationship between the self and its community. Criticism of moderate communitarianism is about its inability to capture the rights of individuals that is bold in its demand for primary status in the Afro-communitarian political thought dominated by the supremacy of communal duties—a stance that triggered its emergence. Nonetheless, I argue that a reading of moderate communitarianism demonstrates that its criticism is mainly due to some unclarity in Gyekye’s analysis and that, contrary to existing defence, moderate communitarianism, as an account of moderate persons and moderate communities, is not a description of what exists in Afro-communitarianism but a designed framework for modern Afro-communitarianism in a way that redefines the communitarian nature of African thought. Interpreting moderate communitarianism as suggesting a direction for Afro-communitarianism would be essential for a meaningful engagement with it.
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