South African Journal of Philosophy

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Radicals versus Moderates: A Critique of Gyekye’s Moderate Communitarianism

B Matolino


The communitarian conception of person is a widely accepted view in African
thought. Kwame Gyekye thinks there is a distinction between what he
calls radical communitarianism and his own version of moderate
communitarianism. He is of the view that radical communitarianism is faced
with insurmountable problems and ought to be jettisoned in favour of his
moderate communitarianism. Gyekye’s strategy is twofold; he firstly seeks to
show the shortcomings of radical communitarianism – particularly by attacking
Ifeanyi Menkiti’s position. Secondly, he seeks to show the authenticity of
his version as well as its serious regard for individual rights as representing a
triumph over radical communitarianism. In this paper, I seek to contest both
of Gyekye’s strategies.
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