In this book, Loewy grounds communitarian ethics in contemporary terms, particularly as a response to the intractable social problems in the United States and the shocking collapse of the Soviet Union and Soviet-style communism. He goes far beyond his work in ethics to date, moving from a dialectical relationship between community and autonomy to a notion in which the ends and means of both community and individual interact to produce a homeostatic balance. Rather than the relationship being purely one of competition between the claims of beneficence and the claims of individuality, there is a necessary interrelation in which a homeostatic balance occurs, assuring communal and individual survival.
Loewy illustrates some of the contemporary consequences of the philosophy he develops here, using medicine, education, and affirmative action as models. He expands the notion of community and shows that individual communities are related to each other, as are individuals and small communities.
Erich H. Loewy is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, Peoria and Associate Professor of Humanities and Associate, Graduate Faculty at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is the author of Suffering and the Beneficent Community: Beyond Libertarianism, also published by SUNY Press.