The Ethics of Community

We live today in a world dominated by large political, economic and social institutions: yet we long for the intimacy of smaller, more directly personal communities. This tension between 'individualism' and 'fellowship' is central to communitarian ethics.Frank Kirkpatrick's important and timely study sets out to identify a Christian ethic of community which accounts for the whole range of forms of human association, exploring the significant differences between them. He argues that a realistic Christian ethic of community must address the relationship between the religious aspiration for community and the political necessity for society. Drawing on theology, political philosophy and the social sciences generally, Kirkpatrick develops a 'philosophy of the personal' which can guide us towards understanding what a good society and a fulfilling community ought to be and which might ultimately help us to achieve a greater sense of personal meaning and fulfilment.