Love Thy Neighbour: Community Within a Wisdom of Limits

As he has been for many in his scholarly circles, Frank Richardson has been an invaluable resource to me in my recent and nascent explorations of the psychological lives of persons living in and through the communities of which they are a part. I’m deeply indebted to Frank for his willingness to help me work through a new way of thinking about psychological theorizing and for engaging in rich conversation and dialogue on topics ranging from intersectionality and identity politics, to liberalism, democracy, moral realism, human limits, fate, dignity, and reverence (among others). In this Chapter, I will expand upon conversations and collaborations with Frank on the centrality of community to the general theme of human flourishing. More specifically, drawing on the respective works of Mary Parker Follett (1918) and Ray Oldenburg (1989/1997) on the civic features of neighbourhoods, group organizations, and “third places,” I will explore possibilities for understanding how the disintegration of neighborhoods and other sites of civic engagement have contributed to a general and pervasive sense of alienation and disconnection from community. I will then attempt to sketch connections between these works and various themes in the work of Christopher Lasch and others whose works were introduced to me by Frank. I end with a brief description of Frank’s own work on philosophical hermeneutics as a theoretically rich framework for psychological theorizing.


Citation: Slaney, K. L. (in press). Love thy neighbour: Community within a wisdom of limits. In R. Bishop (Ed), Hermeneutic dialogue and shaping the landscape of theoretical and philosophical psychology: The work of Frank Richardson. Routledge.

Published by Kathleen Slaney

I am a Professor of Psychology at Simon Fraser University, located in British Columbia, Canada. My research interests and expertise fall, broadly, in the philosophy of psychological science, analysis and critique of empirical methodologies, study of scientific practices in psychology, history/philosophy of psychological measurement, theoretical and applied psychometrics. More recently I've turned my attention to thinking and writing about to a more general set of meta-science issues, including philosophical reflexivity, generalizability, and rhetoric in science discourse. I am also just beginning a new line of research into the topic of community and civic virtue.