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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The political philosophy of the British Idealists is distinguished by the effort to reconcile the human subject and the objective world of institutions. Idealists view the modern state as the reconciling ground of the autonomous person with social institutions which, while promoting the development of individuals, also give expression to their mutual recognition. This project of reconciliation is expressed in a vision of a common good society understood as a community of mutually dependent and mutually self-developing persons. Reciprocity of services between ‘enabling state’ and ‘ethical citizenship’ lies at the heart of the common good society. Forged by a conceptual structure — comprising the state, rights, political obligation, citizenship and freedom — its reconciling force exposed the futility of a discourse of dichotomies which prevailed at the time — individualism-collectivism — and which has continued to raise its barren head in more recent dichotomous controversies, e.g. the communitarians/liberals and (civic) republicans/liberals discourses.

Keywords: Reconciliation project, the state, rights, political obligation, citizenship, freedom, common good, justice

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