2006-02-22

Defending the Community Against the Individual (Book Notes: Hiding from Humanity)

Austin Kline reviews Hiding from Humanity: Disgust, Shame, and the Law, by Martha C. Nussbaum. It dissusses on the issue of the community versus the individual. It cuts into arguments defending human rights abuses because, for instance, women being the chattel of men is part of the culture and imposing women's rights on that culture is cultural imperialism on part of the west.

Defending the Community Against the Individual (Book Notes: Hiding from Humanity): "A common argument used by those who object to individual rights going 'too far' is the idea that the needs of the community need to be respected. This is not unreasonable, because as social animals we depend heavily on the health of our community. At the same time, though, what is meant by 'community'? Is this just a mask for whatever the powerful want?"
...
"[U]nless we make it clear what “community” we are talking about, and can defend why this particular “community” is chosen over others, it looks like efforts to assert the rights and needs of “the community” over the individual are actually just efforts to assert the privileges and traditions of the powerful over everyone else. Perhaps this isn’t always the intended goal, but it certainly seems to be the effect."

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