Communitarians And Obligations

Decent Essays
Communitarians often say that we have obligations we have not yet chosen. The meaning behind this statement means that being apart of a group of people we obtain an identity or a role in people’s lives. “We are not separate individuals. Each of us is a member of communities: families, nations, religious associations, professional associations, sports teams, cliques, and so on”(Handout, 1). A communitarian can fulfill the role of daughter, mother or grandparent. Any of these roles a communitarian is placed in and cannot just decide to wake up and not be a daughter or a mother, the person is obligated to fulfill that role. A person has an obligation to fill those roles even if they have not chosen to. “Our embeddness in communities produces obligations for us and see how those obligations, the binding of those obligations on us does not derive from our having voluntarily chosen them”(Lecture one). These obligations are not chosen, but instead given to us to whether we wanted to or not.
Obligations can come from a multitude of different places. Michael Sandel quotes Alasdair MacIntrye from his book After Virtue, in his talk at Harvard University titled, What's
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“I didn’t voluntarily choose my parents and while I could in fact sever all ties to my parents and could cease being a good daughter. I could stop calling and I could stop visiting” (Lecutre 1). The daughter has the ability to break ties with her parents, but the obligation remains. ““Communitarians suggest that I am encumbered by the fact that I am someone’s daughter being encumbered means I can’t just decide to be someone’s daughter. I can’t just decide to not have the obligations of a daughter”(Lecture one). This is an example that you don’t choose to have this obligation to look after your parents or to call them, but as a child it’s an obligation that is yours regardless if you chose it or
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