Social Philosophy and Policy

Research Article

Liberalism, Communitarianism, and Political Community*

Chandran Kukathasa1

a1 Politics, University of New South Wales

The primary concern of this essay is with the question “What is a political community?” This question is important in its own right. Arguably, the main purpose of political philosophy is to provide an account of the nature of political association and, in so doing, to describe the relations that hold between the individual and the state. The question is also important, however, because of its centrality in contemporary debate about liberalism and community.


* I am grateful to Ellen Frankel Paul and Emilio Pacheco for their detailed comments on an earlier draft of this essay. My thanks also to the other contributors to this volume for some helpful discussion and criticism.