Gyekye’s moderate communitarianism: a case of radical communitarianism in disguise

  • Richard Ansah
  • Modestha Mensah


Classical/radical communitarians argue that the community is morally supreme - whenever there is conflict between the interests of the individual and those of the community, the interests of the community come first. This is called the community primacy thesis. Kwame Gyekye, a reputable African philosopher, has argued otherwise. He believes that it is extreme and hyperbolic when radical communitarians emphasize the moral supremacy of the community and its values over the individual’s (morality). He proposes moderate communitarianism, a theory, he believes, maintains the well-being of the community as a whole, and at the same time gives equal recognition to the individual and his or her rights. Moderate communitarianism balances responsibilities with rights. In this article, we argue that Gyekye’s moderate communitarianism re-echo’s the radical version he criticizes and rejects.

Keywords: Communitarianism, Individual, Community, Rights, Duties/Responsibilities, Autonomy, Individual Good, Common Good


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eISSN: 1597-474X