This volume presents a theoretical defense of the potential of ordinary individuals to construct values and through them to become self-empowering, responsible participants in a democratic community. Rather than conceiving of power as domination, the author identifies true power as self-empowerment, a notion based on self-construction. He proposes the vision of an authentically free self filled with a compassion that is a composite of reason and feeling. Such a composite self does not consciously manipulate language, truth, and desire to dominate and subordinate other individuals, but uses them to construct values and norms that can enrich others. To support his argument the author draws on both classical and contemporary philosophers, as well as on literary sources.