The study of ethics has recently become influenced by a form of moral conservatism—a critique of “modernity” with a bias towards Aristotle. It stresses the integrity of communities and their customs, a pluralistic and particularistic respect for the diversity of human groups, the poverty of utopianism and Marxism, and the inevitability of moral and political conflict. Each stress raises major issues: the priority of social goods over human rights; hermeneutical problems of understanding between communities; difficulties for societies' shaping a common future in accordance with their moral understanding; the balance between consensus and conflict in political life. These problems are addressed in an extended form of moral conservatism which defines a number of correspondences with progressive conceptions of humanity. Referring to central facts of moral psychology and possible institutions of public communication, the discussion identifies universal human purposes whose practical implications are consistent with a postmodern society in which the course of development is settled by public deliberation.