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John Macmurray Fellowship Seminar - The rediscovery of the communal

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The rediscovery of the personal and communal: Macmurray and recovering from a crisis

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"Any community of persons … is a group of individuals united in a common life… Like a society, a community is a group which acts together; but unlike a mere society its members are in communion with one another; they constitute a fellowship … a unity of persons as persons. It cannot be defined in functional terms, by relation to a common purpose. It is not organic in structure, and cannot be constituted or maintained by organization, but only by the motives which sustain the personal relations of its members. It is constituted and maintained by a mutual affection.

their unity is no fusion of selves, neither is it a functional unity of differences … is a unity of persons. Each remains a distinct individual; the other remains really other. Each realizes himself in and through the other. … they are then related as equals. This does not mean that they have, as matter of fact, equal abilities, equal rights, equal functions or any other kind of de facto equality. .. [and] they … realize their freedom as agents, since in the absence of the fear for the self there is no constraint on [them], and each can be [themselves] fully; neither [are] under obligation to act a part. Thus equality and freedom are constitutive of community; and the democratic slogan, ‘Liberty, equality, fraternity’, is an adequate definition of community–-of the self-realization of persons in relation.” (Persons In Relation, 1961 [1991], p.157,158)"

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