Defending diversity: contemporary philosophical perspectives by Lawrence Foster

By Lawrence Foster

Lately the results of "multiculturalism" for American society were the topic of a lot debate. to a couple, the time period has come to indicate the fragmentation of culture and the coherent values that derive from it. To others, it signs the arrival of a extra inclusive, tolerant, and really democratic society. Drawing on philosophy's longstanding main issue with problems with pluralism and relativism, at the traditions of yankee pragmatism, and on smooth theoretical techniques, the essays during this quantity deliver readability to this dialogue by means of interpreting the underlying values and assumptions of every aspect. They current a diversified, insightful, and well-reasoned protection of the virtues of variety, open air in addition to contained in the partitions of the academy.

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Wade as far from a position of state neutrality on the morality of abortion, but in practice an endorsement of moral permission. Pro-choice advocates, on the other side, could reasonably object that prohibition of state funding of abortion, though justifiable on neutralist grounds, leads to a de facto violation of poor women's rights. Even if the distinction between brute and reasonable were clearer in princi- Page 16 ple and in practice, Gutmann and Thompson make a compelling case for the necessity of admitting some brute disagreements on the agenda for state action.

Consider Carol Gilligan's well-known discussion of children's reactions to Heinz's dilemma, in which Heinz considers whether to steal a drug that he cannot afford to buy in order to save the life of his wife. " Jake, an eleven-year-old boy, constructs the dilemma as a conflict between the values of property and life and places priority on life. Amy, an eleven-year-old girl, considers "neither property nor law" but rather the effect that the theft could have on the relationship between Heinz and his wife.

Consider Rawls's second principle of justice in this regard. The point is not that conservative Page 21 arguments against state redistribution actually presuppose such principles, but that they are consistent with a number of conflicting general principles of distributive justice. Much of the point of these arguments, in fact, is to produce agreement on relatively concrete policy matters while avoiding explicit commitment to general principles that one's audience may reject. The characteristic form of such arguments ("Whether one holds general principles A, B, or C, no good aim is served by policy X") is a useful rhetorical strategy when dealing with an audience whose fundamental beliefs may be indeterminate, incoherent, or irreducibly diverse.

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