Reconciling Communal Identity and Social Criticism



I give my response to the claim (anticipated in the last chapter) that holism cannot accommodate critical enquiry, or that it leaves no room for the notion of ‘thinking for oneself’ apart from a community. This criticism achieves its force on the basis of an undue identification of rational criticism with a foundationalist epistemology. I spend the rest of the chapter arguing that there are patterns of reasoning which can justify our moving from one position to a rival incompatible position, without drawing on any standard external to either of those positions. In this way standards for criticising our social practices are shown to exist within those very practices. I follow Kuhn’s account of scientific development and Charles Taylor’s notion of a transitional argument to make this point and I end by giving an argument for what ‘thinking for oneself’ consists in.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of KentCanterburyUK

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