What pluralism, why pluralism, and how? A response to Charles Ess

Ethics and Information Technology 8 (4):227-236 (2006)
Abstract
In this critical response to Charles Ess’ ‚Ethical Pluralism and Global Information Ethics’ presented in this Special Issue of Ethics and Information Technology, it is firstly argued that his account of pros hen pluralism can be more accurately reformulated as a three layered doctrine by separating one acceptance of diversity at a cultural level and another at an ethical theoretic level. Following this clarificatory section, the next section considers Ess’ political and sociological reasons for the necessity and desirability of pros hen pluralism, criticising the former reasons as social scientifically problematic, while elaborating on the latter as more persuasive. In the last section, I discuss how pros hen pluralism may be realised, making three arguments in particular. First, Ess’ requirement for sensitivity to cultural diversity is to be interpreted as differentiated and extended sensitivity. Second, his discussion of shared responses to central ethical problems is ambiguous and needs further elaboration and clarification. Third, his focus on dialogue and Socratic education is persuasive, although excessive optimism is not reasonable.
Keywords Charles Ess   culture   dialogue   ethical pluralism   information ethics
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