Motivational externalists and internalists of various sorts disagree about the circumstances under which it is conceptually possible to have moral opinions but lack moral motivation. Typically, the evidence referred to are intuitions about whether people in certain scenarios who lack moral motivation count as having moral opinions. People’s intuitions about such scenarios diverge, however. I argue that the nature of this diversity is such that, for each of the internalist and externalist theses, there is a strong prima facie reason to (...) reject it. That much might not be very controversial. But I argue further, that it also gives us a strong prima facie reason to reject all of these theses. This is possible since there is an overlooked alternative option to accepting any of them: moral motivation pluralism , the view that different internalist and externalist theses correctly accounts for different people’s concepts of moral opinions, respectively. I end the paper with a discussion of methodological issues relevant to the argument for moral motivation pluralism and of the consequences of this view for theories about the nature of moral opinions, such as cognitivism and non-cognitivism. (shrink)
This brief commentary has three goals. The first is to argue that ‘‘framework debate’’ in cognitive science is unresolvable. The idea that one theory or framework can singly account for the vast complexity and variety of cognitive processes seems unlikely if not impossible. The second goal is a consequence of this: We should consider how the various theories on offer work together in diverse contexts of investigation. A final goal is to supply a brief review for readers who are compelled (...) by these points to explore existing literature on the topic. Despite this literature, pluralism has garnered very little attention from broader cognitive science. We end by briefly considering what it might mean for theoretical cognitive science. (shrink)
Functionalists about truth employ Ramsification to produce an implicit definition of the theoretical term _true_, but doing so requires determining that the theory introducing that term is itself true. A variety of putative dissolutions to this problem of epistemic circularity are shown to be unsatisfactory. One solution is offered on functionalists' behalf, though it has the upshot that they must tread on their anti-pluralist commitments.
‘Value pluralism’ as traditionally understood is the metaphysical thesis that there are many values that cannot be ‘reduced’ to a single supervalue. While it is widely assumed that value pluralism is true, the case for value pluralism depends on resolution of a neglected question in value theory: how are values properly individuated? Value pluralism has been thought to be important in two main ways. If values are plural, any theory that relies on value monism, for example, (...) hedonistic utilitarianism, is mistaken. The plurality of values is also thought to raise problems for rational choice. If two irreducibly distinct values conflict, it seems that there is no common ground that justifies choosing one over the other. The metaphysical plurality of values does not, however, have the implications for rational choice that many have supposed. A charitable interpretation of value pluralist writings suggests a ‘nonreductive’ form of value pluralism. Nonreductive value pluralism maintains that in the context of practical choice, there are differences between values—whether or not those values reduce to a single supervalue—that have important implications for rational choice. This article examines the main arguments for metaphysical value pluralism, argues that metaphysical value pluralism does not have certain implications that it is widely thought to have, and outlines three forms of nonreductive value pluralism. -/- . (shrink)
Traditional inflationary approaches that specify the nature of truth are attractive in certain ways; yet, while many of these theories successfully explain why propositions in certain domains of discourse are true, they fail to adequately specify the nature of truth because they run up against counterexamples when attempting to generalize across all domains. One popular consequence is skepticism about the efficaciousness of inﬂationary approaches altogether. Yet, by recognizing that the failure to explain the truth of disparate propositions often stems from (...) inflationary approaches' allegiance to alethic monism, pluralist approaches are able to avoid this explanatory inadequacy and the resulting skepticism, though at the cost of inviting other conceptual difficulties. A novel approach, alethic functionalism, attempts to circumvent the problems faced by pluralist approaches while preserving their main insights. Unfortunately, it too generates additional problems---namely, with its suspect appropriation of the multiple realizability paradigm and its platitude-based strategy---that need to be dissolved before it can constitute an adequate inflationary approach to the nature of truth. (shrink)
Ontological pluralism is the doctrine that there are different ways or modes of being. In contemporary guise, it is the doctrine that a logically perspicuous description of reality will use multiple quantifiers which cannot be thought of as ranging over a single domain. Although thought defeated for some time, recent defenses have shown a number of arguments against the view unsound. However, another worry looms: that despite looking like an attractive alternative, ontological pluralism is really no different than (...) its counterpart, ontological monism. In this paper, after explaining the worry in detail, I argue that considerations dealing with the nature of the logic ontological pluralists ought to endorse, coupled with an attractive philosophical thesis about the relationship between logic and metaphysics, show this worry to be unfounded. (shrink)
Abstract: There is a long tradition of trying to analyze art either by providing a definition (essentialism) or by tracing its contours as an indefinable, open concept (anti-essentialism). Both art essentialists and art anti-essentialists share an implicit assumption of art concept monism. This article argues that this assumption is a mistake. Species concept pluralism—a well-explored position in philosophy of biology—provides a model for art concept pluralism. The article explores the conditions under which concept pluralism is appropriate, and (...) argues that they obtain for art. Art concept pluralism allows us to recognize that different art concepts are useful for different purposes, and what has been feuding definitions can be seen as characterizations of specific art concepts. (shrink)
Pluralism: The Philosophy and Politics of Diversity is the first volume to open the window on philosophical pluralism and link pluralist themes in philosophy and politics. It advances recent debates on political pluralism in a range of essays that challenge or defend the association of liberalism and pluralism. The volume is divided into three parts: an investigation of the philosophical sources of pluralism, including an essay on William James; the value of pluralism and liberalism, (...) discussing the compatibility of these ideas; and an investigation of difference in pluralism, with writing on women, ethnocultural, and the public-private distinction. (shrink)
This paper approaches "multiculturalism" obliquely via conceptions of social and political pluralism in the pragmatist tradition. As a matter of social analysis, the advent of multiculturalism implies some loss of confidence in our prior conceptions of accommodating ethnic, social, and religious diversity: the conversion of traditional American cultural diversity into a war of political interest groups. This, and the corresponding tendency toward cultural relativism and "anything goes," is fundamentally a product of over-centralization and cultural-political exhaustion in the wake of (...) the long ordeal of the Cold War. An over-emphasis on the political, and national centralization, has pressured our cultural variety toward more political forms, and "multiculturalism" is both product and backlash.<br><br> Many issues connected with the general theme of multiculturalism parallel philosophical debates on objectivity and the diversity of cultural perspectives. Successful treatments of these themes, drawing on the pragmatist tradition, need to be developed and applied to contemporary problems. The general approach here emphasizes a relative autonomy of religious, ethnic, and cultural-racial groups, the need to be wary of both exclusion and self-insulation, and the roles of individuals in mediating group differences. In the concluding section, specific issues relating religious pluralism and secularism will be addressed.<br><br>. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that singularist approaches to solving the Pessimistic Induction, such as Structural Realism, are unacceptable, but that when a pluralist account of methodological principles is adopted this anti-realist argument can be dissolved. The proposed view is a contextual methodological pluralism in the tradition of Normative Naturalism, and is justified by appeal to meta-methodological principles that are themselves justified via an externalist epistemology. Not only does this view provide an answer to the Pessimistic Induction, it can (...) also accommodate our strongest intuitions regarding the progress of science. (shrink)
Death concept, death definition, death criterion and death testpluralism has been described by some as a problematic approach. Others have claimed it to be a promising way forward within modern pluralistic societies. This article describes the New Jersey Death Definition Law and the Japanese Transplantation Law. Both of these laws allow for more than one death concept within a single legal system. The article discusses a philosophical basis for these laws starting from John Rawls' understanding of comprehensive (...) doctrines, reasonable pluralism and overlapping consensus. It argues for the view that a certain legal pluralism in areas of disputed metaphysical, philosophical and/or religious questions should be allowed, as long as the disputed questions concern the individual and the resulting policy, law or acts based on the policy/law, do not harm the lives of other individuals to an intolerable extent. However, while this death concept, death definition, death criterion and death testpluralism solves some problems, it creates others. (shrink)
Up to now theories of semantic information have implicitly relied on logical monism, or the view that there is one true logic. The latter position has been explicitly challenged by logical pluralists. Adopting an unbiased attitude in the philosophy of information, we take a suggestion from Beall and Restall at heart and exploit logical pluralism to recognise another kind of pluralism. The latter is called informational pluralism, a thesis whose implications for a theory of semantic information we (...) explore. (shrink)
Although it’s sometimes thought that pluralism about truth is unstable---or, worse, just a non-starter---it’s surprisingly difficult to locate collapsing arguments that conclusively demonstrate either its instability or its inability to get started. This paper exemplifies the point by examining three recent arguments to that effect. However, it ends with a cautionary tale; for pluralism may not be any better off than other traditional theories that face various technical objections, and may be worse off in facing them all.
Isaiah Berlin repeatedly attempted to derive liberalism from value pluralism. It is generally agreed that Berlin's arguments fail; however, neo-Berlinians have taken up the project of securing the entailment. This paper begins with an account of why the Berlinian project seems attractive to contemporary theorists. I then examine Berlin's argument. With this background in place, I argue that recent attempts by William Galston and George Crowder to rescue the Berlinian project do not succeed.
David Hollenbach, working within the context of human rights theory, has developed the notion of "indigenous pluralism" as a means of coping with the problems that arise when different religious traditions hold distinct or incompatible interpretations of human rights. It will be argued that indigenous pluralism is a theoretically and practically useful concept for bioethics as well and hence should be incorporated into bioethical methodology and processes of bioethical policy formation. Subsequently, the notion of indigenous pluralism will (...) be discussed in relation to determinations of death as a means of illustrating this concept's applicability to bioethical inquiry. (shrink)
What is truth? What precisely is it that truths have that falsehoods lack? Pluralists about truth (or “alethic pluralists”) tend to answer these questions by saying that there is more than one way for a proposition, sentence, belief—or any chosen truth-bearer—to be true. In this paper, I argue that two of the most influential formations of alethic pluralism, those of Wright (1992, 2003a) and Lynch (2009), are subject to serious problems. I outline a new formulation, which I call “simple (...) determination pluralism,” that I claim offers better prospects for alethic pluralism, with the potential to have applications for pluralist theories beyond truth. (shrink)
The concept of individuality as applied to species, an important advance in the philosophy of evolutionary biology, is nevertheless in need of refinement. Four important subparts of this concept must be recognized: spatial boundaries, temporal boundaries, integration, and cohesion. Not all species necessarily meet all of these. Two very different types of pluralism have been advocated with respect to species, only one of which is satisfactory. An often unrecognized distinction between grouping and ranking components of any species concept is (...) necessary. A phylogenetic species concept is advocated that uses a (monistic) grouping criterion of monophyly in a cladistic sense, and a (pluralistic) ranking criterion based on those causal processes that are most important in producing and maintaining lineages in a particular case. Such causal processes can include actual interbreeding, selective constraints, and developmental canalization. The widespread use of the biological species concept is flawed for two reasons: because of a failure to distinguish grouping from ranking criteria and because of an unwarranted emphasis on the importance of interbreeding as a universal causal factor controlling evolutionary diversification. The potential to interbreed is not in itself a process; it is instead a result of a diversity of processes which result in shared selective environments and common developmental programs. These types of processes act in both sexual and asexual organisms, thus the phylogenetic species concept can reflect an underlying unity that the biological species concept can not. (shrink)
In the face of pluralism, moral constructivists attempt to salvage cognitivism by separating moral and ethical issues. Divergence over ethical issues, which concern the good life, would not threaten moral cognitivism, which is based on identifying generalizable interests as worthy of defending, using reason. Yet this approach falters given the inability of the constructivist to provide us a sure path by which to discern generalizable interests in difficult cases. Still, even if this approach to constructivism fails, cognitivist aspirations may (...) not be defeated if we can continue discursively in a project of identifying and appreciating the interests of others. Grasping the interests of others may require a transformation of moral sensibility such that agents recognize values they have not acknowledged before. This view calls for external moral discourse—that is, moral discourse that makes no appeal to an agent's present interests or desires but rather engages in description of the moral situation in hopes of bringing about a change in moral sensibility. (shrink)
Both in the Speeches and in The Christian Faith Schleiermacher offers a comprehensive theory of the nature of religion, grounding it in experience. In the Speeches Schleiermacher grounds religion in an original unity of consciousness that precedes the subject–object dichotomy; in The Christian Faith the feeling of absolute dependence is grounded in the immediate self-consciousness. I argue that Schleiermacher's theory offers a generally coherent account of how it is possible that differing religious traditions are all based on the same experience (...) of the Absolute. I show how Schleiermacher's programme can respond successfully to three related contemporary objections to religious pluralism: (1) different religions make competing truth-claims about the nature of reality and they cannot all be right; (2) differing traditions cannot all be based on a similar religious experience because all experience is interpreted; and (3) the pluralist needs to have criteria in place distinguishing real and illusory religious experience, but such criteria are elusive. (Published Online April 21 2004). (shrink)
Contemporary Neo-Berlinians contend that value pluralism is the best account of the moral universe we inhabit; they also contend that value pluralism provides a powerful case for liberalism. In this paper, I challenge both claims. Specifically, I will examine the arguments offered in support of value pluralism; finding them lacking, I will then offer some reasons for thinking that value pluralism is not an especially promising view of our moral universe.
Respect, Pluralism, and Justice is a series of essays which sketches a broadly Kantian framework for moral deliberation, and then uses it to address important social and political issues. Hill shows how Kantian theory can be developed to deal with questions about cultural diversity, punishment, political violence, responsibility for the consequences of wrongdoing, and state coercion in a pluralistic society.
A global information ethics that seeks to avoid imperialistic homogenization must conjoin shared norms while simultaneously preserving the irreducible differences between cultures and peoples. I argue that a global information ethics may fulfill these requirements by taking up an ethical pluralism – specifically Aristotle’s pros hen [“towards one”] or “focal” equivocals. These ethical pluralisms figure centrally in both classical and contemporary Western ethics: they further offer important connections with the major Eastern ethical tradition of Confucian thought. Both traditions understand (...) ethical judgment to lead to and thus require ethical pluralism – i.e., an acceptance of more than one judgment regarding the interpretation and application of a shared ethical norm. Both traditions invoke notions of resonance and harmony to articulate pluralistic structures of connection alongside irreducible differences. Specific examples within Western computer and information ethics demonstrate these pluralisms in fact working in praxis. After reviewing further resonances and radical differences between Western and Eastern views, I then argue that emerging conceptions of privacy and data privacy protection laws in China, Hong Kong, Japan, and Thailand in fact constitute a robust, pros hen pluralism with Western conceptions. In both theory and in praxis, then, this pluralism thus fulfills the requirement for a global information ethics that holds shared norms alongside the irreducible differences between cultures and peoples. (shrink)
What at bottom is meant by calling the universe many or by calling it one? -/- Pragmatically interpreted, pluralism or the doctrine that it is many means only that the sundry parts of reality may be externally related. Everything you can think of, however vast or inclusive, has on the pluralistic view a genuinely "external" environment of some sort or amount. Things are "with" one another in many ways, but nothing includes everything, or dominates over everything. The word "and" (...) trails along after every sentence. Something always escapes. "Ever not quite" has to be said of the best attempts made anywhere in the universe at attaining all-inclusiveness. The pluralistic world is thus more like a federal republic than like an empire or a kingdom. However much may be collected, however much may report itself as present at any effective centre of consciousness or action, something else is self-governed and absent and unreduced to unity. -/- Monism, on the other hand, insists that when you come down to reality as such, to the reality of realities, everything is present to everything else in one vast instantaneous co-implicated completeness -- nothing can in any sense, functional or substantial, be really absent from anything else, all things interpenetrate and telescope together in the great total conflux. (shrink)
To study Earth’s climate, scientists now use a variety of computer simulation models. These models disagree in some of their assumptions about the climate system, yet they are used together as complementary resources for investigating future climatic change. This paper examines and defends this use of incompatible models. I argue that climate model pluralism results both from uncertainty concerning how to best represent the climate system and from difficulties faced in evaluating the relative merits of complex models. I describe (...) how incompatible climate models are used together in ‘multi-model ensembles’ and explain why this practice is reasonable, given scientists’ inability to identify a ‘best’ model for predicting future climate. Finally, I characterize climate model pluralism as involving both an ontic competitive pluralism and a pragmatic integrative pluralism. (shrink)
Table of Contents: Politics, morality, and pluralism -- Liberal morality and political legitimacy -- Political legitimacy and social justice -- Williams's concept of the political -- Legitimacy, stability, and morality -- The politics of morality -- A moral point of view -- Manners and morality -- Morality and conflict -- Moral conflict and political theory -- The morality of politics -- Feminism and multiculturalism -- A defense of culture -- Politics and normative conflict -- The political as moral viewpoint (...) -- Morality and politics: a review -- Political unity and pluralism -- The liberal archipelago -- Loose linkage and political legitimacy -- Political unity and the body politic -- Social justice and political unity -- The bonds of civility -- Nationhood and the liberal polity -- The nature of nationhood -- Pluralism and nationalism -- Nationalism and social justice -- Deliberative democracy and the liberal polity -- Liberalism and democracy -- Democracy and deliberative discourse -- The terms of deliberative discourse -- Normative discourse and political legitimacy -- Deliberative democracy and intragroup politics -- Group autonomy and intergroup discourse -- Politics, history, and reason -- Principle and justice in the liberal polity -- Liberal institutions and liberal ideals -- Stopping history -- Rationalism and politics. (shrink)
A remarkable development in twentieth-century mathematics is smooth infinitesimal analysis ('SIA'), introducing nilsquare and nilpotent infinitesimals, recovering the bulk of scientifically applicable classical analysis ('CA') without resort to the method of limits. Formally, however, unlike Robinsonian 'nonstandard analysis', SIA conflicts with CA, deriving, e.g., 'not every quantity is either = 0 or not = 0.' Internally, consistency is maintained by using intuitionistic logic (without the law of excluded middle). This paper examines problems of interpretation resulting from this 'change of logic', (...) arguing that standard arguments based on 'smoothness' requirements are question-begging. Instead, it is suggested that recent philosophical work on the logic of vagueness is relevant, especially in the context of a Hilbertian structuralist view of mathematical axioms (as implicitly defining structures of interest). The relevance of both topos models for SIA and modal-structuralism as appled to this theory is clarified, sustaining this remarkable instance of mathematical pluralism. (shrink)
This paper asks whether (human) rights enforcement is permissible given that it may entail infringing on the rights of innocent bystanders. I consider two strategies that adopt a rights-sensitive consequentialist framework and offer a positive answer to this question, namely Amartya Sen’s and Hillel Steiner’s. Against Sen, I argue that trade-offs between rights are problematic since they contradict the purpose of rights, which is to provide a pluralist solution to disagreement about values, i.e. to allow agents to act in accordance (...) with their values. I further argue that Steiner’s compensation strategy does not succeed in avoiding trade-offs so it falls prey to the same criticism. I propose a non-trade-off solution that is implicit in the accounts discussed and is more consistent with the meta-ethical framework advocated by Sen. This solution relies on an enforceable duty to share in the costs of rights enforcement hence it entails a degree of redistribution for enforcement purposes. (shrink)
Pluralism is often put forth as a counter-position to reductionism. In this essay, I argue that reductionism and pluralism are in fact consistent. I propose that there are several potential goals for reductions and that the proper form of a reduction should be considered in tandem with the goal that it aims to achieve. This insight provides a basis for clarifying what version(s) of reductionism are currently defended, for explicating the notion of a fundamental level of explanation, and (...) for showing how one can be both a reductionist and a pluralist. (shrink)
In Liberalism and Pluralism, Richard Bellamy explores the challenges posed by conflicting values, interests and identities to liberal democracy. Conventional liberal thought is no longer suited to the complex, plural societies of today. By analyzing the three major strands of liberal thought as represented by Hayek, Rawls and Walzer, the author reveals how standard liberalism has tried to circumvent unstable settlements. This book establishes a more satisfactory alternative: namely, negotiated compromise.
In this book, Robert Talisse critically examines the moral and political implications of pluralism, the view that our best moral thinking is indeterminate and that moral conflict is an inescapable feature of the human condition. Through a careful engagement with the work of William James, Isaiah Berlin, John Rawls, and their contemporary followers, Talisse distinguishes two broad types of moral pluralism: metaphysical and epistemic. After arguing that metaphysical pluralism does not offer a compelling account of value and (...) thus cannot ground a viable conception of liberal politics, Talisse proposes and defends a distinctive variety of epistemic pluralism. According to this view, certain value conflicts are at present undecidable rather than intrinsic. Consequently, epistemic pluralism countenances the possibility that further argumentation, enhanced reflection, or the acquisition of more information could yield rational resolutions to the kinds of value conflicts that metaphysical pluralists deem irresolvable as such. Talisse’s epistemic pluralism hence prescribes a politics in which deep value conflicts are to be addressed by ongoing argumentation and free engagement among citizens; the epistemic pluralist thus sees liberal democracy is the proper political response to ongoing moral disagreement. While developing his view, Talisse engages central issues in contemporary liberal political theory, including toleration, state neutrality, public justification, and the accommodation of illiberal sub-cultures. This book will be of interest to ethicists, political philosophers, and political scientists. (shrink)
This article discusses the exegeses of two Qur'anic verses: Qur'an 2:143, which describes righteous Muslims as constituting a "middle/moderate community" ( umma wasat ) and Qur'an 5:66, which similarly describes righteous Jews and Christians as constituting a "balanced/moderate community" ( umma muqtasida ). Taken together, these verses clearly suggest that it is subscription to some common standard of righteousness and ethical conduct that determines the salvific nature of a religious community and not the denominational label it chooses to wear. Such (...) a perspective offers the possibility of formulating universal principles of ethical and moral conduct, which may contribute to the formation of a genuinely pluralist global society today. Through a close study of Qur'anic exegeses of these verses from the late first/seventh century to modern times, I retrieve some of the most prevalent Muslim understandings of "moderation" through time and dwell on their contemporary implications. (shrink)
Liberal societies are characterized by respect for a fundamental value pluralism; i.e., respect for individuals’ rights to live by their own conception of the good. Still, the state must make decisions that privilege some values at the cost of others. When public ethics committees give substantial ethical advice on policy related issues, it is therefore important that this advice is well justified. The use of explicit tools for ethical assessment can contribute to justifying advice. In this article, I will (...) discuss one approach to ethical assessment, the ethical matrix method. This method is a variant of intuitionist balancing. Intuitionism is characterized by stressing the existence of several (at least two) fundamental prima facie moral principles, between which there is no given rank order. For some intuitionist approaches, coherentism has been proposed as a model of justification. This article will discuss justification of ethical advice and evaluate the appropriateness of coherentism as a justificatory approach to intuitionist tools. (shrink)
Political philosophy has difficulties to cope with the complexity and variety of state-religions relations. Strict separationism is still the preferred option amongst liberals, deliberative and republican democrats, socialist and feminists. In this article, I develop a complex typology based on comparative history and sociology of religions. I summarize my reasons why institutional pluralist models like plural establishment or non-constitutional pluralism are attractive not only for religious minorities but for religiously deeply diverse societies in general. Most attention is paid defending (...) associative democracy, the most flexible and open variety of institutional pluralism, against realist objections that group representation is incompatible with liberal democracy, that it leads to stigmatization and bureaucratization, that it strengthens undemocratic leaders, that it leads to an ossification of the status quo, and, most importantly, that it is inherently divisive undermining social cohesion and political unity. In my refutation of these objections I try to show that it helps to integrate minority religions into liberal democratic policies compatible with reasonable pluralism and to prevent religious and political fundamentalism. (shrink)
The moral and political philosophy of pluralism has become increasingly influential. To pluralists, when values genuinely conflict we should aim to strike an appropriate balance or trade-off between them, though this means accepting that compromise will be inevitable. Politics, as a result, appears as a thoroughly tragic affair. Drawing on a "hermeneutical" conception of interpretation, the author develops an original account of practical reasoning, one which assumes that, though making compromises in the face of conflicts is indeed often unavoidable, (...) there are times when reconciliation, as distinct from compromise, is feasible. For this to be so, however, citizens must strive to converse--and not just negotiate--with each other, thus fulfilling the good that is at the heart of their shared political community. This is the central message of the patriotic alternative to pluralist politics that the author defends here. (shrink)
Logical Pluralists maintain that there is more than one genuine/true logical consequence relation. This paper seeks to understand what the position could amount to and some of the challenges faced by its formulation and defence. I consider in detail Beall and Restall’s Logical Pluralism—which seeks to accommodate radically different logics by stressing the way that they each fit a general form, the Generalised Tarski Thesis (GTT)—arguing against the claim that different instances of GTT are admissible precisifications of logical consequence. (...) I then consider what it is to endorse a logic within a pluralist framework and criticise the options Beall and Restall entertain. A case study involving many-valued logics is examined. I next turn to issues of the applications of different logics and questions of which logic a pluralist should use in particular contexts. A dilemma regarding the applicability of admissible logics is tackled and it is argued that application is a red herring in relation to both understanding and defending a plausible form of logical pluralism. In the final section, I consider other ways to be and not to be a logical pluralist by examining analogous positions in debates over religious pluralism: this, I maintain, illustrates further limitations and challenges for a very general logical pluralism. Certain less wide-ranging pluralist positions are more plausible in both cases, I suggest, but assessment of those positions needs to be undertaken on a case-by-case basis. (shrink)
Common arguments for truth in religious pluralism absolutize an ultimate or lived component of religion, reducing a positive affirmation of plurality to deeper unity or exclusion. The arguments of John Hick, William Connolly, Nicholas Rescher, and S. Mark Heim fall into such a trap. By considering how an indeterminate concept of ultimacy, proposed by Robert C. Neville, fares against the problems their arguments raise, it will be shown that such a concept of ultimacy can both give rise to and (...) grow out of communal experiences and the nature of the world. The indeterminate ultimate, communal experiences, and the world pluralize themselves once understood in mutual relation. (shrink)
In The Crane's Walk, Jeremy Barris seeks to show that we can conceive and live with a pluralism of standpoints with conflicting standards for truth--with the truth of each being entirely unaffected by the truth of the others. He argues that Plato's work expresses this kind of pluralism, and that this pluralism is important in its own right, whether or not we agree about what Plato's standpoint is.The longest tradition of Plato scholarship identifies crucial faults in Plato's (...) theory of Ideas. Barris argues that Plato deliberately displayed those faults, because he wanted to demonstrate that basic kinds of error or illogic have dimensions that are crucial to the establishing of truth. These dimensions legitimate a paradoxical coordination of logically incompatible conceptions of truth. Connecting this idea with emerging currents of Plato scholarship, he emphasizes, in addition to the dialogues' arguments, the importance of their nonargumentative features, including drama, myths, fictions, anecdotes, and humor. These unanalyzed nonargumentative features function rigorously, as a lever with which to examine the enterprise of rational argument itself, without presupposing its standards or illegitimately assimilating any position to the standards of another.Today, communities are torn apart by conflicts within and between a host of different pluralist and absolutist commitments. The possibility developed in this book-a coordination of absolute and relative truth that allows an understanding of some relativist and some absolutist positions as being fully legitimate and as capable of existing in a relation to their opposites-may contribute to perspectives for resolving these conflicts. (shrink)
This paper argues that from an ethical point of view tolerance, which is simply one of a number of possible responses to ethical pluralism, is not an acceptable ideal. It fails to acknowledge and appreciate the good in other forms of life and thereby does not adequately respect the people who live these lives. Toleration limits the range of goods we might appreciate in our own lives and in the lives of those we care most about, and it tends (...) to lead to a number of deformations or personal failures of character. In place of tolerance, we should embrace ethical promiscuity—a view that not only acknowledges ethical pluralism but also offers good reasons to celebrate this state of affairs. (shrink)
<span class='Hi'>Alethic</span> pluralists argue truth is a metaphysically robust higher-order property that is multiply realized by a set of diverse and domain-specific subvening <span class='Hi'>alethic</span> properties. The higher-order truth property legitimizes mixed inferences and accounts for a univocal truth predicate. Absent of this higher-order property, pluralists lack an account of the validity of mixed inferences and an adequate semantics for the truth predicate and thereby appear forced to abandon the central tenets of <span class='Hi'>alethic</span> pluralism. I argue the use (...) of many-valued logics to support pluralism fails to address the pluralistâs metaphysical problem regarding mixed inferences and mixed truth functional connectives. The high degree of heterogeneity of the <span class='Hi'>alethic</span> realizers (unlike the realizers for pain) challenges the plausibility of a single higher-order functional property. A functional property with such a heterogeneous base cannot be projectable at a theoretically significant level. The problem with mixed inferences and truth functions is but one symptom of the deeper projectability problem. (shrink)
Pragmatic pluralism denotes a particular approach to problems of international human rights and protections that departs from conventional cosmopolitan approaches. Pragmatic pluralism argues for situated and localized forms of cooperation between state and non-state actors, particularly religious groups and organizations, that may not share the secular, juridical understandings of rights, persons, and obligations common to contemporary cosmopolitan theory. A resource for the development of such a model of pragmatic pluralism can be found in the work of Hannah (...) Arendt. Arendt's early dissertation "Love and Saint Augustine" affords a model of religious community and obligation that can be read productively alongside her later political writings. The possibilities inherent in a cooperative reading of these two parts of her work can be illustrated in relation to an issue of particular concern to cosmopolitan theorists: the international refugee crisis. (shrink)
In this comment, I first point out some problems in McCauley's defense of the traditional conception of general analytical levels. Then I present certain reductionist arguments against explanatory pluralism that are not based on the New Wave model of intertheoretic reduction, against which McCauley is arguing. Reductionists that are not committed to this model might not have problems incorporating research on long-term diachronic processes in their analyses. In the last part of the paper, I briefly compare Robert N. McCauley's (...) conception of reduction to some other current accounts, highlighting the differences between them. (shrink)
The evolution of sexual reproduction is a striking case of explanatory pluralism, meaning that one needs to refer to more than one explanation in order to adequately account for it. I develop the concept a domain of phenomena in order to analysis this pluralism. Pluralism exists when a phenomenon can be included in more that one homogeneous domain or in a heterogeneous domain. I argue that in some cases domain partitioning can be used to decrease pluralism, (...) but that in the case of sex domains are overlapping and interconnecting, or in other words bear an orthogonal relationship to one another, and hence cannot be partitioned in such a way as to eliminate pluralism. (shrink)
Nicholas Rescher presents a critical reaction against two currently influential tendencies of thought. On the one hand, he rejects the facile relativism that pervades contemporary social and academic life. On the other hand, he opposes the rationalism inherent in neo-contractarian theory--both in the idealized communicative-contract version promoted in continental European political philosophy by J;urgen Habermas, and in the idealized social contract version of the theory of political justice promoted in the Anglo-American context by John Rawls. Against such tendencies, Rescher's pluralist (...) approach takes a more realistic and pragmatic line, eschewing the convenient recourse of idealization in cognitive and practical matters. Instead of a utopianism that looks to a uniquely perfect order that would prevail under ideal conditions, he advocates incremental improvements within the framework of arrangements that none of us will deem perfect but that all of us "can live with." Such an approach replaces the yearning for an unattainable consensus with the institution of pragmatic arrangements in which the community will acquiesce--not through agreeing on their optimality, but through a shared recognition among the dissonant parties that the available options are even worse. (shrink)
In our increasingly multicultural society there is an urgent need for a theory that is capable of making sense of the various philosophical difficulties presented by ethical and religious diversity—difficulties that, at first sight, seem to be remarkably similar. Given this similarity, a theory that successfully accounted for the difficulties raised by one form of plurality might also be of help in addressing those raised by the other, especially as ethical belief systems are often inextricably linked with religious belief systems. (...) This article adumbrates a theory that is suitably sensitive to the challenge posed by cultural diversity, and that is respectful of ethical and religious differences. The theory, called “internalist pluralism,” provides a philosophical account of the widely differing claims made by religious believers resulting from the tremendous diversity of belief systems, while simultaneously yielding a novel perspective on ethical plurality. Internalist pluralism is based on Hilary Putnam’s theory of internal realism. This article is not concerned to defend internal realism against its critics, although such defense is clearly required if the theory is to be adopted. Its more modest aim is to show that internal realism has a distinctive voice to add to the current debate about how best to understand religious and ethical diversity. (shrink)
Explanatory pluralism is the view that the best form and level of explanation depends on the kind of question one seeks to answer by the explanation, and that in order to answer all questions in the best way possible, we need more than one form and level of explanation. In the first part of this article, we argue that explanatory pluralism holds for the medical sciences, at least in theory. However, in the second part of the article we (...) show that medical research and practice is actually not fully and truly explanatory pluralist yet. Although the literature demonstrates a slowly growing interest in non-reductive explanations in medicine, the dominant approach in medicine is still methodologically reductionist. This implies that non-reductive explanations often do not get the attention they deserve. We argue that the field of medicine could benefit greatly by reconsidering its reductive tendencies and becoming fully and truly explanatory pluralist. Nonetheless, trying to achieve the right balance in the search for and application of reductive and non-reductive explanations will in any case be a difficult exercise. (shrink)
In this paper I investigate the relationship between vernacular kind terms and specialist scientific vocabularies. Elsewhere I have developed a defence of realism about the chemical elements as natural kinds. This defence depends on identifying the epistemic interests and theoretical conception of the elements that have suffused chemistry since the mid-eighteenth century. Because of this dependence, it is a discipline-specific defence, and would seem to entail important concessions to pluralism about natural kinds. I argue that making this kind of (...) concession does not imply that vernacular kind terms have independent application conditions. Nor does it preclude us saying that chemists, with their particular epistemic interests, have discovered the underlying nature of water, the stuff that is named and thought about in accordance with the practical interests of everyday life. There are limits to pluralism. (shrink)
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. (shrink)