A Critique of Freedom and Equality
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This book is about the grounds of ethical life, or the nature and basis of our ethical obligations. It contains an original account of these grounds and shows how this understanding requires specific forms of social and political life. Charvet considers the ideas of the freedom and equality of men in the many forms they have taken and shows that there is a radical incoherence underlying them which consists in the failure to integrate in a coherent way the particular and the moral or communal dimensions of individual life. These two dimensions are separated and opposed to each other. In the final section of the book Charvet develops an original account of the grounds of ethical life which satisfactorily integrates these particular and communal elements of individuality. It is designed to show how the moral claims of individuals are grounded in their associated wills in a community and yet how such a conception preserves the separate individuality of the community's members.