The Emergence of Communitarian Challenges: 1400s–1600s

  • Henry TamEmail author


This chapter establishes the analytical framework for examining ideas on how communities should develop in relation to three key questions: (1) What should people care about? (2) What should people believe? (3) What actions should people decide to take? The Reciprocal approach to dealing with these questions, which underpins communitarian thinking, is contrasted with the Detached; the Egoistic; and the Absolutist approaches. The chapter goes on to bring out the distinctive features of emergent communitarian ideas from the Renaissance (Salutati, Bruni, Erasmus, Paracelsus, Machiavelli, More) to the seventeenth century, during which significant intellectual and political proposals were put forward for mutual responsibility (Winstanley, Penn); cooperative enquiry (Bacon, Wilkins, and the Royal Society); and citizen participation (the Levellers, Harrington, Sidney). These were neither Hobbesian nor Lockean, but characteristically communitarian.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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