All in the Family: On Community and Incommensurability by Kennan Ferguson

By Kennan Ferguson

Western political philosophers seeing that Plato have used the kinfolk as a version for harmonious political and social family. but, faraway from being an uncontentious area for shared pursuits and customary values, the family members is usually the scene of excessive interpersonal clash and confrontation. In All within the relations, the political theorist Kennan Ferguson reconsiders the family members, in its assorted varieties, as an exemplar of democratic politics and indicates how actual instead of idealized relatives dynamics may also help us to higher comprehend and navigate political conflict.
By heavily looking at the attachments that come up in households regardless of profound disagreements and incommensurabilities, Ferguson argues, we will think a political engagement that contains radical variations with no sacrificing neighborhood. After analyzing how the concept that of the relatives has been deployed and misused in political philosophy, Ferguson turns to the ways that households really function: the macropolitical value of relations coping suggestions resembling silence and the influence that incapacity and caregiving have on conceptions of spatiality, sameness, and disparity. He additionally considers the emotional attachment among people and their pets as an acknowledgment that compassion and neighborhood can exist even lower than stipulations of profound distinction.

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Extra resources for All in the Family: On Community and Incommensurability

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One often sees them in philosophy textbooks or essays exploring the necessity of rule-­following, for instance. What these examples almost always misconstrue, however, is 26 Chapter 2 that the importance of their use in people’s everyday lives far exceeds the importance of the larger use of the general rules they are meant to explain. That is, the authors of philosophy textbooks incorrectly assume the examples merely show how moral argumentation works, so that it can be better applied to the important realms of law, public ethics, or business.

These liberal approaches seem profoundly different from the commun­ itarian-­inflected ones. But upon closer examination, these theorists share many of the conditions (or perhaps more accurately, the “preconditions”) upon which their perceived possibility of politics rests. For, fundamentally, does not each liberal approach presume a kind of community, if only a formal one? Rawls certainly presupposes a political community: a set of rational individuals with common conceptions both of the nature of a state and of the appropriately ethical solutions to problematic political questions.

This chapter thus addresses the possibility of community outside of (or without) commonality, and asks why unity is so often falsely presumed to be the precursor to community. It is, above all, an attack on the presumption that communities (be they families, towns, or nations) require commonality, and that incommensurability always threatens community. The question throughout is, why does commonality, interpreted as sameness, hold such sway over our conceptions of community? The concept proves important to those people who spend their days thinking through ways to improve public life and connect people to political realities.

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