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By Wellsy
#15157274
... and what ‘we’ are you apart of?



https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/equality.htm
Equality has always been conceived as relevant only to those who are included, to those who are participants in domain across which equality is applicable.

https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/collaborative-ethics.htm
Like Kant, Habermas continued to develop his ethics on the basis of individuals who are taken to be, and take each other to be, ends in themselves, autonomous moral agents, who do things to each other but never with each other. Despite the move to give procedural form to moral obligations, Habermas’s communicative ethics remains, as a number of writers have said, insufficiently concrete. We are left with an indefinite number of atomistic individuals engaged in egalitarian and inclusive ‘practical discourse’ over some decision with which they claim to be ‘concerned’ and all are to be treated alike as ends in themselves.

I contend that Both Habermas and Rawls fail in their project because they do not take collaboration as the norm for interactions between individuals. Individuals being the author of unmediated actions they take against another individual is far from being the typical ethical relation in social life – in the jungle perhaps, but not in a modern social formation. Ethics needs to be based on a form of relationship which can function as a methodological ‘germ cell’ of a social formation, and one individual acting upon another fails as such a germ cell.

Undoubtedly individual experiences will always have a privileged position in questions of ethics, but I would contend that individual action can only be approached as a determination of the ‘we’ perspective which must form our starting point, in theory as it does in reality. Taking collaborative projects to be the essential, concrete practical relation between people, I reformulate the Golden Rule in this way:

‘What we do, is decided by us’.

That is, by default, I take another person to be a collaborator in the project which is implicated in the moral problem raised between us, and that includes those who are participants by virtue of being or claiming to be affected. Conflict is an essential moment of collaboration. The aim is seek consensus on what we do, that is, taking us to be joint participants in a project. If no such shared project is conceivable, then the supposed moral problem is void.

https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/subject-position.htm
Moral discourse which is based around events, dilemmas or relationships in which the participants in the discourse are not participants in a relevant common project, is meaningless. What should the French government do about the hijab? What position should a socialist take in Iraq today? How can there be sensible answers to these questions for someone who is not French or not in Iraq?
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By Wellsy
#15157377
Rugoz wrote:I do not detect anything "sufficiently concrete" in your quotes.

Well, my thought is that there are many groupings that don't really make any sense.
So for example, in the Henry Rollins video, he seems to reject the 'we' in 'We the people' as meaning much when the country has been divided in many ways.

This is because it is too abstract in many contexts to mean much. When people refer to society as a thing they often talk as if its one of a unified people, but unified by what?
If I assume ll women are necessarily anti-sexist/feminists because it's in their interests to oppose certain things that burden them more than the rest of society, this is shown inadequate. First, in the criticism of the 2nd wave of feminism, black women said it didn't speak for them but of white middle-class women. Then go down the road of an endless series of particulars such as black lesbian women being distinguished. But this focuses on grouping by demographic or attributes rather than any real-world connection other than perhaps a shared circumstance which defines them.
So a switch to what people believe in provides something of a better proxy, so this is a group of people who believe this. But even this is too vague so then you focus on, what project mediates the collaboration between a set of people?
Further, a range of different collaborative relations are normative in different circumstances. What kind of collaborators are we? Whose project is this? These questions have to be answered concretely. The point is to struggle to identify a viable ‘we-perspective’. This raises the issue of the various paradigms of decision making which apply to collaborative projects. I will come to these questions presently.

This helps more clearly delineate different groups and actors within some larger practice that all participate in. Beliefs are part of it but can be a reflection of one's role within some project (sometimes not as they can't or don't pursue their ideals). For example, many scientists although not in any particular or close connection to other scientists are part of a community participating in different tasks unified around some aim such as studying biology and they have a shred language and sense of things even if they have many disagreements.
Two opposing political parties are still collaborating in the same project of election campaigns and running the government even if expressed as conflict. There is a shared object or basis of their actions even if their ideals and aims for it differ.

So my thought then is what groups are we meaningfully apart of that it makes sense to think of u as a participant. A clear relation unlike the one of what one would theoretically do in France and the burqa whilst not bring a part of France. Instead, there are clearer delineated subjects/communities which individual people participate in and apart of.
By Rugoz
#15157415
The author (you?) accuses Habermas of being "insufficiently concrete", but his "project-based collaboration" solves nothing, because it doesn't reduce the size of communities. Nations or even humanity in its entirety are single projects that affect everybody involved.
By late
#15157418
Rugoz wrote:
The author (you?) accuses Habermas of being "insufficiently concrete", but his "project-based collaboration" solves nothing, because it doesn't reduce the size of communities. Nations or even humanity in its entirety are single projects that affect everybody involved.



Or to put it slightly differently, we the people think he's full of it.
By Rugoz
#15157419
Wellsy wrote:So my thought then is what groups are we meaningfully apart of that it makes sense to think of u as a participant. A clear relation unlike the one of what one would theoretically do in France and the burqa whilst not bring a part of France. Instead, there are clearer delineated subjects/communities which individual people participate in and apart of.


Last time I checked France decides on the lawfulness of wearing a burqa in France. I suppose you could say the burqa only concerns those who are wearing it, not the entire nation. But that would be typical liberal position.
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By Wellsy
#15157550
Rugoz wrote:The author (you?) accuses Habermas of being "insufficiently concrete", but his "project-based collaboration" solves nothing, because it doesn't reduce the size of communities. Nations or even humanity in its entirety are single projects that affect everybody involved.

I do share the authors position in that I do believe he advances ethics beyond Habermas' and it's not as he stands alone in his criticism of Habermas' discourse or communicative ethics.
The very next section following the quote criticizing Habermas and Rawls is in fact another critical theorist in the same tradition as Habermas.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/collaborative-ethics.htm
Seyla Benhabib in particular has pointed out that Habermas’s formulation is far too abstract, and in its abstractness it fails to find relevance in real world ethical problems.

‘The fiction of a general deliberative assembly in which the united people expressed their will belongs to the early history of democratic theory; today our guiding model has to be that of a medium of loosely associated, multiple foci of opinion formation and dissemination which affect one another in free and spontaneous processes of communication’. (Benhabib, 1996)

Benhabib insists that so long as the other is considered abstractly, lacking any determinateness in relation to the subject, the perpetuation of the above fiction has the effect of promoting a destructive kind of liberalism which is blind to the diversity of projects in which people are engaged, and the conflicts between these various projects. Benhabib (2006) illustrated this point with a consideration of the range of quite different definitions of the ‘citizens’ of a nation-state, according to whether kinship, residence, ethnicity, language, work or political participation is at issue. In her opinion, ethical problems arising in the European Union can only be resolved by disentangling these distinct projects, rather than trying to see Europe, for example, as made up of groups of individuals each sharing a unitary nationality.

And the point is that the emphasis on the collaboration of people within a project in fact does form a necessary component in trying to make sense of how to ethically judge peoples actions as it is within those projects such norms are established and contested. Some have criticized the norms of communicative ethics as reflecting a seminar and thus reflecting Habermas' adult life as an academic.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/habermas-review.htm
In an ideal speech situation, the participants may be assumed to be truthful and to have perfect knowledge of their own motivations. Such a move creates the illusion that the contradiction between the meaning of an utterance and an immediately given reality is a matter of secondary importance, relegated to the conditions of discourse, and not bearing on the essence of the matter, and assumed to eliminable. This is adequate for formal linguistics but unsuitable for ethics.

The participants may be assumed to all get an equal chance to speak, and that everyone affected has such a chance, but how can anyone be affected by a discourse? Any implied effect, which lies in the background, is in fact actually structuring participation in the discourse in the first place. Who is affected and how? what interests do they have? how can their claim to be affected be validated? what is the relevant project? None of these questions can be answered sensibly while the project which the discourse is about is left in the background. Putting oneself into a discourse or taking oneself out is a practical act. Equally, speaking up, turning up for the meeting, fixing the venue for a meeting and so on are practical acts. Creating and learning a language are practical activities carried out in collaboration with other people, in the first place, outside of and prior to any given discourse. How do we know the consequences of an activity and who may be affected? Surely this is a question which cannot be resolved within the parameters of discourse, but lies above all on the plane of practical activity.
...
This is not true. Only to the extent that two actors are already involved in some joint project, can an utterance by one serve to coordinate the other’s action; it cannot create that effect ex nihilo. If two people are in different parts of the world speaking different languages and pursuing different lives, how can an utterance by one impose a binding or obligatory commitment on the other?


And the necessity of considering the mediation of people through material cultural forms is that it is simply inseparable from making sense of people. Methodological individualism or structuralism are partial truths but they stand abstractly opposed to one another. And the emphasis on individual interaction makes nonsense of the social fabric in which people act.
Such a point is illustrated herein those who follow Wittgenstein of words meaning their use between individuals but no sense to the relations which give it meaning for which the individuals can act within.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/concepts-language.htm
The early paragraphs of “Philosophical Investigations” are set in the context of people collaborating in constructing a building, and the interlocutors make sense of each other’s words thanks to the fact that they are engaged in the same activity. In §23 he says:

the term ‘language-game’ is meant to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life (Wittgenstein 1953 §23).

And this is the point. It is these extra-discursive activities which provide the ends towards which word meanings are oriented. Concepts are located within shared activities and forms of life, not just the transitory uses of words. A million disparate actions are required to build a house, but the meaning of all these actions is house building and derivative concepts (in the sense that Kuhn talks of normal science as derivative of a paradigm). Here is the real problem which Wittgenstein does not address.

Concepts are discursively constructed prior to any given utterance and have relative stability. We could not suppose that an environment (such as a building site) is sufficient for all the interlocutors to understand the activity they are engaged in, so that they are able to construe appropriate meanings to others’ words. That ‘context’ has to be evoked discursively. But everything about constructing a building: the various building elements, the skills and processes, the division of labour, plans and so on, pre-exist any given utterance or any of the actions which contribute to finally constructing a building.

https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/Brandom.pdf
The metaphor of judge-made law cited above, which is a pragmatic rendering of Hegel’s conception of sprit, by disposing of the need for a pre-existing principle governing the development of new propositions, seems to justify the idea that the whole process of cultural and historical development can be rendered as interactions between individuals. But this does not stand up. The process depends essentially on the availability of the precedents, the body of enacted law and all the legal principles which exist in the form of documents. These documents are crucial mediating artefacts which regulate the development of the common law. The idea that the judge is able to make explicit what was merely implicit in the previous decisions is an attractive and eminently Hegelian idea. But it presupposes that these documented decisions act as mediating elements in the development of law, not to mention the entire material culture which supports the way of life in which the decisions are made by judges and enforced by a state.

A proposition appears to be something created and enacted in the moment when two people interact, but neither the language used in the interaction nor the concepts which are embedded in the language are created de novo in that interaction. The words and concepts relied upon in any interaction “are always already there in the always alreadyup-and-running communal linguistic practices into which I enter as a young one” (Brandom 2009: 73). Through the provision of these artefacts, every linguistic interaction is mediated by the concepts of the wider community.

If Hegel’s idea of Recognition is taken out of the context of his whole method it is easily misunderstood, and taken to be an unmediated binary relation between two individuals, but this is never the case; interactions between subjects are always mediated.


You dismiss the thought of it advancing anything as you simply pose vaguely that project in which people collaborate exist on huge scales and are such, without bounds but it's not clear your sense of the term reflects what is being introduced.
For example, what are the projects which constitute a nation or even humanity as a whole? The most universal of things that mediates human relations are big things like the global market and states, but how does one relate the individual to things on that scale?
Things like the environment affect everyone, but that doesn't automatically make everyone a collaborator in protecting it. Similarly, many people may participate in an election, but beyond that, to what extent do they play a role in their own government's politics?
You see here, the concept aimed at with the emphasis on a collaborative project isn't one that might be readily recognized because many do not acknowledge the concept of a concrete universal as it originates through Goethe, formalized in Hegel and reproduced in Marx and Marxists after him.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/abstract-general.htm
Concrete universal reasoning bases itself on the understanding that the Universal, the Particular and the Individual each have their own basis in reality and never completely coincide, and reasoning involved development of the concept itself, rather than simply the grouping of elements under concepts. By Universal, is meant a species or some culturally-defined symbol, law or concept; by Individual, is meant a concrete thing or person which is an instance of the universal; by Particular, is meant the quality or relation of the individual by virtue of which it is subsumed under the Universal. “All C have the attribute a, e is a C, therefore e has the attribute a.”
...
As an abstract general self-consciousness, a subject would see themselves (and others) in terms of the attributes they bear, black/white, male/female, etc.. On the other hand, with a concrete universal self-consciousness, people have a conception of themselves (and others) which is primarily tied up with the “meaning” of their life, the story in which they play some part and their relation to other subjects. So we have two different ways of reasoning about yourself and others, two different ways of conceiving of yourself in relation to the whole community.

I worry whether your comment is going along the lines which would be criticized by Benhabib above.
There are many things which mediate my relation to others in a country but for the most part in my day to day life I have very little to do with the majority of people in a country, unles we're unified and acting towards some shared end perhaps amidst a crisis, what basis of relations is there beyond the mutual exchange of the market?
Rugoz wrote:Last time I checked France decides on the lawfulness of wearing a burqa in France. I suppose you could say the burqa only concerns those who are wearing it, not the entire nation. But that would be typical liberal position.

And to continue the point raised in the summary of Benhabib of perhaps not properly distinguishing the different social actors in an issue and their conflicting aims, I again quote the article that details not an ragument against only those who wear burqas but the point that while the state can legislate or ban the hijab or burqa, this is insufficient to necessarily enact such a norm but only effects it and this is what in fact happened. The secular state was able to enact a ban but it doesn't lead to the desired result because the lives of such girls and women who wear it are apart of communities that have a great deal of influence over their lives and don't simply fall in line with a state ruling. Because of course people are not synonymous with the state and the state is a point of struggle for different groups in society, to which the French government responded to the wishes of those who wanted to ban it.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/subject-position.htm
In general, the promotion of an ethical claim in the public sphere can be interpreted as an effort to change the ethical disposition of other people. I characterise this as ‘ethical politics’. I see ‘ethical politics’ as taking up the subject position of advising a social movement, rather than advising the state, although the state may be seen as an instrument for changing social dispositions as well. But to place demands on the state as if the speaker were an influential government adviser and as if the government were able to fix the problem is legitimate only if it corresponds to the real relationship, but this is often not the case.
...
I would like to illustrate this by means of the hijab affair. Let us suppose, as some have argued (and for the purposes of illustrating the point let us assume that this point of fact is true), that an initial compromise that was worked out between the three girls and the school was overthrown when the girls came under pressure from religious figures to press their right to wear the hijab to a public school; about 1/3 of girls who used to wear a hijab to school left the secular state education system as a result of social pressure from within their own community. Given the state’s upholding of the ban on wearing the hijab, these girls were then faced with a choice between being treated with contempt in their own community or leaving the public education system. The state was in fact powerless to remedy this situation by overriding the authority of the religious leaders in the community, and the ban on the hijab only consolidated the hold of the religious leaders over women in their community by ensuring that women would not receive the public secular education they would need to enjoy the benefits of modern French society.

I do not think it is valid to say something like: “Well the state was right to ban the hijab in a public school, but has no responsibility for the exclusion of the girls from secular education by their community.” The fact is that the state was a relatively ineffective mediator in this matter. To be consistent, having banned the wearing of the hijab in public schools, the state ought to have placed all young females in the immigrant Muslim communities into protective custody so that they could attend public school without wearing the hijab. The state responded politically to the opinions of the majority French population, and the unintended consequences which flowed from the demand more than negated the original intention.

But is this not the normal state of affairs? In a society in which so much is organised by the market, the reversal of equity measures by the market is very common. For example, the Australian Aboriginal stockmen who got the sack as soon as they achieved equal pay, the same fate which has been suffered by many female professionals.

Isn’t it one of the lessons that the Left ought to have learnt from the 20th century, that the state is not an effective mediator for ethical demands that have not already been gained by social movements. All the more so in an electoral democracy where governments stand or fall by popular opinion. The role of the state is a practical one: to objectify the outcome of past struggles. The state does have a capacity to act on behalf of the whole community, but such a capacity depends on the community being of one mind on a matter. This is obviously not the case where ethical dilemmas and cultural differences within the nation are at issue, and it is precisely this situation which is at issue.

But the whole public debate about the hijab affair was conducted in terms of what action the state should take. Meanwhile, in the housing estates where the poor immigrant communities lived, a quite different discussion was taking place about how the girls would be treated should they comply.

Now it is not my claim that an ethical demand cannot be mediated. On the contrary. The first thing is to recognise that all ethical demands are mediated. The question of who is to be addressed with an ethical demand is that of subject position, and many different subject positions are possible and legitimate. What is wrong is making claims from the point of view of God, or taking up a subject position of adviser to God. No consideration was given to the fact that the French state was unable to regulate the attitudes of members of the immigrant communities, but only the policies of the state entities, and the possibility that other parties or circumstances will subvert the actions of the state, and that there may be other parties capable of doing what the state cannot, particularly social movements. If there was any sense in the campaign for the läité laws, it was to create and strengthen a secularist social movement. I doubt that the secularist cause was furthered by the läité laws.

It's simply a reality that the state does not represent a universal will because there is no such universality among people, there are many divisions within a society, so it must always express a particular interest as many aims are in conflict and it can't enact all of them.
THe point being that ethics necessarily entails identifying the social subjects and they must be real existing social subjects, ones that have developed. Many might think of say civil rights (or today BLM) as synonymous with black people but this is a category error to assume that all people belong to something even if it is seen as in the interest of a particular demographic, just as most women never were feminists although many now agree with liberal feminism in some degree. But shared belief is insufficient to be considered a collaborator in the project of feminism.
This may even seem a benign point but it seems it is one with big implications for properly considering things as many work with abstract general categories which are easily rejected by a nominalist view as not being reflective of a real thing as they are insufficient concrete (not an immediate sensory thing but a concept which is properly constituted by many things/relations),
Having something in common can be a precondition for the emergence of a subject, but is not enough.
[url[https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/butler.htm[/url]
Hegel knew long ago that a collection of elements gathered together, externally, according to some attribute they have in common, cannot as such constitute a concept or subject. “Something in common” can only be a “thing-in-itself,” not yet a concept.
...
A community is not formed by people having “something in common.” On the contrary, community is formed by division of labour. Fundamentally, then, the process of differentiation, is not a process of exclusion and inclusion, but an unfolding into mutually supporting subjects, differentiating itself into self-conscious systems of activity, which nevertheless, opens the door to the subordination of one subject by the other, but is not founded on such an objection.

From the abstract general point of view, the realisation of subjectivity pre-supposes the atomisation, or “rifting,” of subjectivity, of a withdrawal of solidarity. But abstract generality is no basis for the formation of subjectivity or solidarity, and what results is the process which Judith Butler finds mysterious: “the death of the subject.”

The different approaches conclude in a different ontology where one collects individuals into a group based on what they share in attributes while the other emphasizes a real development of a group from random individuals into a social subject with a shared purpose. One can address a social movement, but an ethical claim to a mass of individuals with no concern for their relation to an issue makes a ethical claim nonsense. Just as whether France should ban the hijab/burqa is more a theoretical question for those who aren't in France whilst for those in it, it becomes a practical matter.
By Rugoz
#15157599
Wellsy wrote:The very next section following the quote criticizing Habermas and Rawls is in fact another critical theorist in the same tradition as Habermas.


I have never read anything from Habermas, but I doubt the simplistic critique in that paragraph does his theories justice.

Wellsy wrote:And the emphasis on individual interaction makes nonsense of the social fabric in which people act.


Emphasis on individual (or between-group) interaction does not preclude a social fabric. The social fabric is what people have in common, hence it's not a source of conflict that needs to be resolved.

Wellsy wrote:For example, what are the projects which constitute a nation or even humanity as a whole? The most universal of things that mediates human relations are big things like the global market and states, but how does one relate the individual to things on that scale?


Every government decision affects me to a certain degree, not least because I have to pay for it. Naturally local decisions tend to have a greater impact, hence the principle of subsidiarity.

Wellsy wrote:Things like the environment affect everyone, but that doesn't automatically make everyone a collaborator in protecting it.


Absolutely it does. It's a prime example of an issue where everybody has to make a contribution, willingly or not.

Wellsy wrote:The secular state was able to enact a ban but it doesn't lead to the desired result because the lives of such girls and women who wear it are apart of communities that have a great deal of influence over their lives and don't simply fall in line with a state ruling. Because of course people are not synonymous with the state and the state is a point of struggle for different groups in society, to which the French government responded to the wishes of those who wanted to ban it.


Are you suggesting Muslim communities (and others) should be allowed to make their own laws?

Wellsy wrote:It's simply a reality that the state does not represent a universal will because there is no such universality among people, there are many divisions within a society, so it must always express a particular interest as many aims are in conflict and it can't enact all of them.


Geographical divisions have historically been the most relevant and are arguably still today. How would you introduce additional political divisions along different dimensions? Is that even desirable? Is not the current problem in the US that the political institutions designed to reflect regional diversity lead to more polarization? For example a representative from a rural district will have little in common, culturally, with a representative from an urban district.
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By QatzelOk
#15157618
Wellsy wrote:Well, my thought is that there are many groupings that don't really make any sense.
So for example, in the Henry Rollins video, he seems to reject the 'we' in 'We the people' as meaning much when the country has been divided in many ways.

I think it's important to look at the context of any particular use of "we."

In the case of "We the people," we are talking about a document that was written so that a group of British colonists could "do what they want" to some of "the people" who still existed in the country. So the First Nations people were definitely not included in this "we." Nor were many other types of people who existed in the USA when the document was written.

Likewise, by writing "we," the authors of the USA constitution were trying to fake being part of some culture or national tradition that really didn't exist. So the collective-sense of "Us Americans" wasn't even true or valid. It was mainly a propaganda meme aimed at creating fake solidarity. Or the sense that some kind of solidarity "was out there in the woods behind the cabin."

A lot of liars will frame their situated opinion with "we think..." or "we can't do that..." as a way of passing off their own self interest as "the collective interest" or "common sense."
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By Wellsy
#15158069
Rugoz wrote:I have never read anything from Habermas, but I doubt the simplistic critique in that paragraph does his theories justice.

Fair enough, there is a much longer review by the author Andy Blunden here which continues the same conclusion:
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/habermas-review.htm
It is my contention that any theory which takes as its elementary unit of analysis a simple speech act or utterance, disconnected from the activity within which it is made, can be nothing more than a mere formalism. Severed at its root from the real human relationships of collaboration and conflict, which tie the participants in discourse and motivate their interaction, which give them something to talk about, such a theory must entirely miss essence of its subject matter, since language is for the purpose of coordinating activity or it is just a game....
Practical discourse, in the sense in which Habermas uses the term, is a practice, and the understandings which arise through practical discourse about ethics are an ethics of discourse, but they do not necessarily have any relation or relevance to any other practice, apart from discourse. In communicative ethics, the life-world of the participants has well and truly retreated into the background. As soon as the participants enter into some other practical interaction, they must leave their discourse ethics at the door.

For a study of ethics which has relevance to human life outside of the philosopher’s study, the unit of analysis must include purposive interaction between at least two people, the activity of doing something with or against someone else, in a unit of analysis which contains both the intentional actions of each of the participants and the “third” party — the “project” in which they participate, the collaborative activity itself. In addition to you and me there has to be a “we”, otherwise you and I have nothing to talk about.

Andy Blunden goes through many passages from one of Habermas' more recent updates of his communicative ethics and gives a response to it. I introduce this to make the point that it's not as mere passing comment but the result of review/study of his work as part of a larger review of ethics in the critical theory tradition.
Habermas is no fool but I don't quite see Blunden's point as insignificant. The point being how we abstract something, if we leave out something essential then we miss the point even while we might describe many qualities which are true. Blunden seems to make an emphasis that people aren't atomistic individuals in interaction with one another but act within pre-existing projects that have a 'life' span longer than the individual in many cases.
This sentiment isn't something confined to Blunden but tracts pretty well onto ALisdair MacIntyre's view of traditions and practices which come to define the individual in relation to the community which practices, often within some tradition which extends generations. He similarly bases his ethics within such practices and traditions because an ethics outside of such seems to be untenable or only sporadically and unconsciously included in one's ethical theory.
https://ecommons.udayton.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1064&context=rel_fac_pub
In our smorgasbord era it is tempting to think of practices as self-contained exercises. In fact, many practices are so complex that they have become an entire tradition in themselves. Medicine, science, and war craft all have attending epistemologies, authoritative texts, structured communities and institutions, and histories of development. Other practices are parts of clusters that contribute to the identity of a tradition. For example, the Christian tradition defines itself as a socially expanding movement called "the kingdom of God." At its core, therefore, Christianity seems to consist primarily of the practice of community formation. Subpractices that contribute to community formation can be categorized under the rubrics of witness, worship, works of mercy, discernment, and discipleship. 19 Other schemes can be imagined of course, but my point is that Christianity cannot be explained or understood without reference to a distinctive cluster of practices. In order to participate in the tradition called Christianity one must necessarily participate in these practices. To put it another way, to participate in the community is to participate in practices because communal life is the point at which the practices intersect. Furthermore, knowing the constitutive practices of Christianity tells us a great deal about how Christians ought to live. If virtues are cultivated by striving for excellence in the practice of practices, then we are unable to grow in Christlikeness unless we participate in Christianity's practices.
...
The third term that forms the backdrop to all the various accounts of virtue is the notion of tradition. Macintyre defines tradition as "an historically extended, socially embodied argument, and an argument precisely in part about the goods which constitute the tradition" (222). This definition has three components. First, Macintyre's understanding of tradition is really the logical extension of his treatment of narrative. To be "historically extended" is to be narr-atively extended. Just as the self has the unity of playing a single character in a lifelong story, so too the community has its own continuity-despite loss and gain of members-because the community itself is a character of sorts in a narrative that is longer than the span of a single human life. For example, Christians in the Reformed tradition feel kinship with John Calvin because they can tell the story (recount the history) of the Reformed Church from Calvin's Geneva to their present church community.

Second, a tradition is "socially embodied" because traditions are lived in community. A tradition has its inception in the formation of the community that is defined by those who have pledged corporate allegiance to the tradition's authoritative voice or text. 2 ' In that this prophetic word shapes the practices of communal life, the community is said to "embody" the tradition's persona in that age. For example, early Christians prayed because their scriptures exemplify, illustrate, and command the practice of prayer. Outsiders, who have no access to the authoritative text, can still read the nature of the Christian tradition off the lives and practices of the community's members. Should the community die off or disband, the tradition passes out of existence (at least until another group rallies in the same way around the same text). In this way the tradition has the quality of being "socially embodied." However, because the application of the authoritative text or voice is done afresh in every successive generation, the tradition remains a live option only so long as the discussion about the text's relevance and meaning is sustained. Hence, third, traditions are necessarily long-standing arguments.


Emphasis on individual (or between-group) interaction does not preclude a social fabric. The social fabric is what people have in common, hence it's not a source of conflict that needs to be resolved.

Except this phrase, 'what people have in common', is vague and is part of the issue in which contingent attributes of one's demographic often became the focal point rather than that of projects that people share.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/flourishing.pdf
We also take ‘projects’ rather than ‘social groups’ as units of analysis. That is, rather than seeing a community as a mosaic of groups of various kinds – ethnic groups, age groups, occupational groups, voters, consumers, etc. – we see the social fabric as woven of projects.
This has a number of implications. First, it means we do not take subjects as nonentities with contingent attributes attached (gender, occupation, ethnicity, etc.) by means of which an observer can pigeonhole people into various groups. We see social life as made up of people pursuing common ends, i.e., projects, and the community as we find it is a work in progress. This society, with its laws, customs, land, human beings, etc., is all created and shaped by past projects and kept alive by the projects we pursue today. Every individual human life is itself a collaborative project.
...
When we talk of projects, however, we do not have in mind only the planned responses to a situation which are normally what is referred to as projects. When a project resonates with a broader community it becomes a social movement. And to the degree that a social movement becomes successful, and manages to objectify its aims in the laws and customs of the wider community, it becomes an institution. And as an institution makes its way into the language and consciousness of the entire community it becomes simply a concept alongside others, an inseparable part of the whole culture. We see all these social formations as stages in the lifecycle of a project and as such we take them all as projects.

And this doesn't merely pose questions to intergroup interactions but helps make sense of them in that norms within a group are clear to those within it, the interaction of different projects is a central concern in the plurality of modernity. One simply cannot subsume the world in one's own project even though many projects such as various religions have made a lot of head way towards it.
And within a project there exists conflict, groups aren't homogenous but often subject to intense discussions when met with challenges to their project. Life is not so smooth and in fact many a social movement has died out unable to resolve challenges or taken different paths for similar ideals or in response to the same problem.

Every government decision affects me to a certain degree, not least because I have to pay for it. Naturally local decisions tend to have a greater impact, hence the principle of subsidiarity.

Indeed, as a citizen of a state you ideally lay claims upon it and many people feel entitled to as much and when enough people revolve around a certain issue they often constitute movements that articulate clearer demands upon the government on what they want changed. This is on par with the point that if you're in France, then of course the actions taken by the French government concern you but how does one make a claim with the same merit as a French citizen upon the French state if you aren't a French citizen or even someone living in France?
The point being attention given to the subjects which are addressing and being addressed for an ethical claim to be intelligible if it's not to resort to old claims to God or to universal reason.

Absolutely it does. It's a prime example of an issue where everybody has to make a contribution, willingly or not.

I do think the environment has the greatest capacity for being a universal good that stands above any single group, but I don't think such an ideal is realized but is at best in the works.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/amphictony.htm
The inclusion in the scope of an amphictony of the inviolability of water sources gives us a clue as to what a modern amphictony would mean. It is the institutionalisation of the recognition by subjects, that there is something which transcends them and whatever may separate them. The nearest thing to a modern amphictony would be a league of independent sovereign subjects which accepted the responsibility to protect the environment or a particular feature of the environment relevant to them.

Amphictony provides for bonds with other subjects with whom we would not form an alliance or even make a peace, but which is in many senses stronger and more long-lasting than an alliance. An amphictony can be exceptionally long-lasting because the object to be protected defines its continuity, rather than the parties.

An amphictony differs from a hegemony because the controlling entity (on one hand the hegemon, on the other the sacred site) is outside, and it is not a subject. Amphicton, the mythical founder of the Great Amphictonic League was born of the soil of the sacred site. The maintenance of shared festivals (like May Day) and institutions (the unions) are possible examples, but above all of course, protection of the environment, create opportunities for the establishment of amphictonies.

At a deeper level, what the amphictony represents is the collaboration of mutually sovereign and independent subjects in a common project, itself a sovereign and independent project outside or above the life of each participating subject. The shared religious rituals and beliefs of the Greek people provided this opportunity, just as do shared religious beliefs and institutions today, though it is stewardship of the environment which is more paradigmatically modern.

Linguistically, amphictony means the existence of signifiers in different languages which all indicate what is known to be the same signified, that differing ideologies share at least one common conception, maintenance of which makes common cause between them.

Following the above, the environment could stand for something which is greater than any one and is the basis of collaboration as a shared object. But we're a still long way off from this being realized but hopefully not too late.

Are you suggesting Muslim communities (and others) should be allowed to make their own laws?]/QUOTE]
Not at all, rather the point is the ineffectiveness of the state to enact change and achieve the desired result of limiting the strict control of women in the Muslim community but instead backfired and only further secured their isolation from the state's influence. It being used here to further the point of how different projects interact and how often the appeal to the state as the universal will isn't necessarily the best path for changes that require more significant change than a top down decree.
Here Hegel can be useful in considering the way in which different projects influence one another, although there is yet to be an actual study and science of the interaction of different projects and their collaboration/conflict. But it might be useful in thinking about internal cohesion within a country. Of course one doesn't need to be a scientist to see certain conflicts present, as the issue of Muslims and the French has long being flaring up in media.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/means-ends.htm

I guess here I'm arguing more for the social theory that Blunden draws upon from prior thinkers as being an advancement in how to conceive of the social fabric and to make a modern ethics intelligible against the illusion of universality which was able to be maintained in the past but less so amidst such plurality. The issue of how to create real universality rather than one that simply attempts to subsume others as in a colonialist fashion but to treat other (social) subjects as equals in which to collaborate and have both projects be changed as a result of their solidarity is focus not from the position of the state but of people generally. The aim not being to empowering the state at all, particularly as it can't be the force of change in civil society but only ride along side it.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/equality.htm



I don't think this is necessarily a point of creating new representation along such lines but a point that the ability to navigate such divisions necesarsily requires a recognition of the different projects in which people are a part of or it can lead to mistakes because instead one treats people as belonging together simply by proxy of all being men, black or what ever. One glosses over existing tensions in different spaces because people aren't conceived as subjects with motives various motives so much as objects to be appealed to for voting.
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