Community, like love, is a concept everybody talks about but nobody bothers to define. From the community of scholars to the community of nations, we passionately seek and widely take for granted a quality of interrelatedness that touches a chord deep within each of us whose vibrations we spend little time submitting to critical examination. Frank Kirkpatrick's rigorous and detailed discussion of community places that notion within a discussion that has developed among philosophers over the past 200 years.
Beginning with the contractual model of Hobbes and Locke, in which individuals work out rules to control their enforced proximity, he moves on to the more complex, organic model of Marx and Engles, and beyond that, the work of Whitehead, in which individuals now interact with one another as organically related parts of a greater whole.
Finally, he devotes most of his attention to a third, highly personal model of community, which owes its most sophisticated recent formulation to John Macmurray. Within that model he sees the greatest possibilities for developing a coherent and comprehensive notion of community that takes seriously both the unique individuality of each person and the possibility for these individuals to commit themselves to loving fellowship with each other.