Building the conflicted community
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This thesis will examine the individual and the community. The question will be, what effect does the community have on the individual, and whether or not this limits individuals development and personal freedom. I will contend that while individuals have limits placed on their freedoms by the community, they are also indebted to it, finding within it a necessary place. As such, I will examine various communal models, questioning the benefits and vices of each, hoping to draw a clearer picture of a community that allows the individual the most personal freedom, while not diminishing from the strength of the community. I will focus first on the model of Hegel and his speculative idealism, examining his method, and overarching goal, as a means to question what an idealistic society would look like, and how it would function, in order to inquire whether such a community is both plausible and preferable. And as this question was taken up by John Dewey, the thesis will also argue from his standpoint that a community such as Hegels was not possible. I will examine why John Dewey drew this conclusion, as it did not take into account individuals, and how they have experience, as personal and ever changing. And finally the thesis will question, was Dewey firm enough in his stance, or was his just a softer version of idealism, leading us to the present state of affairs where the community is still dominated by idealistic sentiments, favoring the community over the individual, and diminishing personal freedom. The conclusion will be drawn that a move should be made to return to individuals choice in their personal lives, as originally proposed by Dewey, both giving, and making them take responsibility for those lives. Consequently, the thesis will show that a community that allows for the most personal development of individual freedoms will also be one that thrives as a community, drawing from those individual developments a richer source of potentials, capable of changing in a more varied and expansive way that is more aptly able to accommodate both the individual and the community.
Spiegelhauer, Jacob Lyle (2004). Building the conflicted community. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from