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Summary In ethics, a pluralist view is one that assumes that more than one principle or value provides the foundation for a certain ethical domain: in morality; in value theory (including but not restricted to moral theory); in politics; in aesthetics, and so on. Pluralism as such contrasts with monism, the view that there is only one basic principle or value in such domains. Monist views in moral theory include utilitarianism, divine command theory, and Kant's moral theory at least on some readings. Hedonism is a monist view in value theory: only pleasure is valuable for its own sake. Pluralist views include, for example, Ross's deontology and 18th c. ethical rationalism (Clarke, Price) whereby there are several basic, irreducible, duties; so-called 'ideal utilitarianism', whereby there are many goods besides pleasure that require to be promoted; so-called 'objective list' theories of well-being, whereby different elements (pleasure, knowledge, achievement, personal relationships etc.) compose a person's well-being; and some versions of virtue ethics - on which there is no single master virtue but different and possibly diverging ones (say, benevolence and justice). In the political area, Rawls's two principles of justice provide another example of pluralism, in this minimal sense outlined. Key questions under consideration include the arguments for and against pluralism (within one or more of these areas), how a pluralist view ought to deal with conflicts between heterogeneous principles or values, and whether some sort of unification of different values can be achieved without slipping into monism.
Key works Ross 1930 is a milestone for the elaboration of pluralist views both in morality and value theory. Bernard Williams provides arguments against monism based on the notion of rational regret, in his 'Ethical Consistency' (in Williams 1973). An important book-length defense of pluralism and its practical viability is Stocker 1989. Another defense is given by Nagel in 'The Fragmentation of Value' (in Nagel 1979). Hurka 1996 replies to some of the arguments for pluralism. Swanton 2003 provides a model for a pluralist virtue ethics based on the idea of different appropriate responses to value irreducible to one single kind of attitude. Similar points are raised, mainly against monism of a consequentialist sort, in Anderson 1993. In the political area, but still relevant to the overall debate on ethical pluralism, the classic is Berlin 2002. Hurka 2010 is an accessible statement of a working value theory that is at least pluralistic in spirit.
Introductions Mason 2008, Heathwood 2015, Schroeder 2008,
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  1. added 2020-05-26
    Coronavirus and Value Pluralism : A Robust Ethical Perspective on a Pandemic.Ignace Haaz - forthcoming - Journal of Dharma.
    The fear of the largely unknown consequences of being exposed to coronavirus should have brought a more dynamic interplay of beliefs and opinions for those who in the footsteps of J.S. Mill believe that the limits of power, which can be legitimately exercised by society over the individual, is to prevent harm to others (Mill, 1859, Introduction). To be kept in a room is an invitation to think or do things with a higher degree of intelligence, empathy and tact. Our (...)
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  2. added 2020-05-15
    Fear and Freedom.Müller Jan-Werner - 2008 - European Journal of Political Theory 7 (1):45-64.
  3. added 2020-05-06
    Conspiracy Theories and Reasonable Pluralism.Matej Cíbik & Pavol Hardoš - forthcoming - European Journal of Political Theory:147488511989923.
    The popularity of conspiracy theories poses a clear challenge for contemporary liberal democracies. Conspiracy theories undermine rational debate, spread dangerous falsehoods and threaten social co...
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  4. added 2020-04-17
    Public Reason, Compromise Within Consensus, and Legitimacy.Chong-Ming Lim - 2018 - In Nurdane Şimsek, Stephen Snyder & Manuel Knoll (eds.), New Perspectives on Distributive Justice: Deep Disagreements, Pluralism, and the Problem of Consensus. De Gruyter. pp. 225-242.
    A central idea of public reason liberalism is that the exercise of political power is legitimate when supported only by reasons which all citizens accept. Public reason serves as a necessary standard for evaluating the legitimacy of political decisions. In this paper, I examine the directive to employ public reason from the citizens’ perspective. I suggest that employing public reason potentially involves them engaging in different types of compromise. I consider how acknowledging these compromises sheds light on public reason liberalism. (...)
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  5. added 2020-03-13
    Review of John Dewey, "The Later Works, 1925-1953", Volume 13 . [REVIEW]H. G. Callaway - 1994 - Journal of Value Inquiry 28 (3):485.
    This review addresses John Dewey's writings from 1938-1939, including Experience and Education, Freedom and Culture, Theory of Valuation, and Essays.
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  6. added 2020-01-05
    Human Rights: India and the West.Ashwani Kumar Peetush & Jay Drydyk - 2015 - Oxford University Press.
    The question of how to arrive at a consensus on human rights norm in a diverse, pluralistic, and interconnected global environment is critical. This volume is a contribution to an intercultural understanding of human rights in the context of India and its relationship to the West. The legitimacy of the global legal, economic, and political order is increasingly premised on the discourse of international human rights. Yet the United Nations’ Declaration of Human Rights developed with little or no consultation from (...)
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  7. added 2019-10-05
    The Value of Chance and the Satisfaction of Claims.Ittay Nissan-Rozen - 2019 - Journal of Philosophy 116 (9):469-493.
    A new explanation for the fairness of lotteries is presented. The explanation draws on elements of John Broome's and Richard Bradley's accounts, but is distinct from both of them. I start with Broome's idea that the fairness of lotteries has something to do with satisfying claims in a way which is proportional to their strength. I present an intuitive explication of.
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  8. added 2019-06-06
    The Limits of John Rawls’s Pluralism.Chantal Mouffe - 2005 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics 4 (2):221-231.
    This article brings to the fore the shortcomings of the type of pluralism advocated by John Rawls both in Political Liberalism and in The Law of Peoples. It is argued that by postulating that the discrimination between what is and what is not legitimate is dictated by rationality and morality, Rawls’s approach forecloses recognition of the properly political moment. Exclusions are presented as being justified by reason and the antagonistic dimension of politics is not acknowledged. This article also takes issue (...)
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  9. added 2019-06-06
    A Relative Defence: Lacewing A Relative Defence.Michael Lacewing - 2003 - Think 1 (3):71-77.
    Is morality relative? Might what is morally ‘right’ for one culture be morally ‘wrong’ for another? Issue two contained two pieces arguing against this kind of moral relativism. Here, Michael Lacewing suggests that there may be more truth in relativism than was suggested.
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  10. added 2019-06-06
    On Reconciling Happiness and Autonomy: An Interpretation of Hegel’s Moral Philosophy.Lewis P. Hinchman - 1991 - The Owl of Minerva 23 (1):29-48.
    Moral philosophers typically have confronted two distinct kinds of problems. First, they have attempted to discover the supreme principle of morality and show how it should influence our conduct by indicating what specific virtues, obligations, laws, and way of life it would require. Second, they have tried to demonstrate that we ought to live according to its demands and do what is morally right even when our immediate desires pull us in the opposite direction.
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  11. added 2019-01-18
    Democracy as Intellectual Taste? Pluralism in Democratic Theory.Pavel Dufek - 2018 - Critical Review 30 (3-4):219-255.
    The normative and metanormative pluralism that figures among core self-descriptions of democratic theory, which seems incompatible with democratic theorists’ practical ambitions, may stem from the internal logic of research traditions in the social sciences and humanities and in the conceptual structure of political theory itself. One way to deal productively with intradisciplinary diversity is to appeal to the idea of a meta-consensus; another is to appeal to the argument from cognitive diversity that fuels recent debates on epistemic democracy. For different (...)
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  12. added 2018-12-06
    Two Kinds of Value Pluralism.Miles Tucker - 2016 - Utilitas 28 (3):333-346.
    I argue that there are two distinct views called ‘value pluralism’ in contemporary axiology, but that these positions have not been properly distinguished. The first kind of pluralism, weak pluralism, is the view philosophers have in mind when they say that there are many things that are valuable. It is also the kind of pluralism that philosophers like Moore, Brentano and Chisholm were interested in. The second kind of pluralism, strong pluralism, is the view philosophers have in mind when they (...)
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  13. added 2018-09-29
    Diversity, Stability, and Social Contract Theory.Michael Moehler - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3285-3301.
    The topic of moral diversity is not only prevalent in contemporary moral and political philosophy, it is also practically relevant. Moral diversity, however, poses a significant challenge for moral theory building. John Thrasher, in his discussion of public reason theory, which includes social contract theory, argues that if one seriously considers the goal of moral constructivism and considerations of representation and stability, then moral diversity poses an insurmountable problem for most public reason theories. I agree with Thrasher that moral diversity (...)
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  14. added 2018-07-29
    To Infer Liberalism From Value Pluralism.Jinzhou3 Ye - 2016 - Ethical Perspectives 23 (4):663-688.
    Robert Talisse charges as doomed the Berlinian effort to infer liberal politics from value pluralism, based on the observation that it unavoidably vio- lates Hume’s law and that the two in fact clash in their basic logic. In arriving at this diagnosis, however, Talisse relies on several problematic assumptions about practical reasoning as well as about value pluralism and liberalism. As a result, he fails to appreciate the practical nature of practical reasoning and also fails to see the negative aspects (...)
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  15. added 2018-07-26
    Perfectionist Liberalisms and the Challenge of Pluralism.Mats Volberg - 2015 - Studia Philosophica Estonica 8:113-127.
    Based on Steven Wall's work I take perfectionism in political philosophy to include two components: the objective good and the non-neutral state. Some perfectionist theories aim to be liberal. But given the objective good component perfectionism seems to be unable to accommodate the commitment to value pluralism found in liberalism, this is what I call the challenge of pluralism. The perfectionist reply is to claim that their objective good can also be plural and thus there is no conflict. My aim (...)
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  16. added 2018-03-05
    A New Problem with the Capabilities Approach.Thom Brooks - 2014 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 20:100-106.
    Martha Nussbaum’s “influential capabilities approach” offers us a powerful, universal standard of justice. The approach builds off of pioneering work by Amartya Sen in economic development. Much of the contemporary interest in the capabilities approach has focused upon how we might spell out a list of precisely which capabilities must be made universally available and protected, a list that Sen has not provided himself. Nussbaum’s list of capabilities is arguably the most successful attempt at defining these capabilities. In this paper, (...)
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  17. added 2017-08-29
    When Doing the Right Thing is Impossible.Lisa Tessman - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    In this accessible yet throught-provoking work, Lisa Tessman takes us through gripping examples of the impossible demands of morality -- some epic, and others quotidian -- whose central predicament is: How do we make decisions when morality demands we do something that we cannot?
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  18. added 2017-07-20
    Damage, Flourishing, and Two Sides of Morality.Adam Morton - forthcoming - Eshare: An Iranian Journal of Philosophy 1 (1).
    I explore how considerations about psychological damage connect with moral theories.
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  19. added 2017-06-29
    Midlife: A Philosophical Guide.Kieran Setiya - 2017 - Princeton University Press.
  20. added 2017-04-28
    Moral Coherence and Principle Pluralism.Patricia Marino - 2014 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 11 (6):727-749.
    This paper develops and defends a conception of moral coherence that is suitable for use in contexts of principle pluralism. I argue that, as they are traditionally understood, coherence methods stack the deck against pluralist theories, by incorporating norms such as systematicity—that the principles of a theory should be as few and as simple as possible. I develop and defend an alternative, minimal, conception of coherence that focuses instead on consistency. It has been suggested that consistency in this context should (...)
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  21. added 2017-04-01
    Can Modus Vivendi Save Liberalism From Moralism? A Critical Assessment of John Gray's Political Realism.Rossi Enzo - forthcoming - In John Horton, Manon Westphal & Ulrich Willems (eds.), The Political Theory of Modus Vivendi. Dordrecht: Springer.
    I argue that John Gray's modus vivendi-based justification for liberalism is preferable to the more orthodox deontological or teleological justificatory strategies, at least because of the way it can deal with the problem of diversity. But then I show how that is not good news for liberalism, for grounding liberal political authority in a modus vivendi undermines liberalism’s aspiration to occupy a privileged normative position vis-à-vis other kinds of regimes. So modus vivendi can save liberalism from moralism, but at cost (...)
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  22. added 2017-03-09
    Putting Together Morality and Well-Being.Ruth Chang - 2004 - In Peter Baumann & Monika Betzler (eds.), Practical Conflicts: New Philosophical Essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 118--158.
    Conflicts between morality and prudence are often thought to pose a special problem because the normativity of moral considerations derives from a distinctively moral point of view, while the normativity of prudential considerations derives from a distinctively prudential point of view, and there is no way to ‘put together’ the two points of view. I argue that talk of points of view is a red herring, and that for any ‘prumoral’ conflict there is some or other more comprehensive value – (...)
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  23. added 2017-01-21
    Moral Pluralism and Conflict.Ferrell Jason - 2014 - Journal of Political Science 42.
    Institutions have often been characterized as responses to conflict, and assumptions about the nature of conflict have frequently determined the structure and scope of political activity. Two prevalent interpretations of conflict portray it as either a conflict of interest or a competition for resources. Yet there is another view of conflict that regards it in terms of a contest of values, something that raises a different set of questions and issues. These issues involve concerns about the incommensurability and incompatibility of (...)
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  24. added 2016-12-12
    Value Pluralism and the Problem of Judgment.Linda M. G. Zerilli - 2012 - Political Theory 40 (1):6-31.
    This essay examines the significantly different approaches of John Rawls and Hannah Arendt to the problem of judgment in democratic theory and practice.
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  25. added 2016-12-12
    Liberal Purposes: Goods, Virtues, and Diversity in the Liberal State.William A. Galston - 1991 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book is a major contribution to the current theory of liberalism by an eminent political theorist. It challenges the views of such theorists as Rawls, Dworkin, and Ackerman who believe that the essence of liberalism is that it should remain neutral concerning different ways of life and individual conceptions of what is good or valuable. Professor Galston argues that the modern liberal state is committed to a distinctive conception of the human good, and to that end has developed characteristic (...)
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  26. added 2016-12-08
    Postmodern Political Values: Pluralism and Legitimacy in the Thought of John Rawls and Gianni Vattimo.David Rose - 2008 - Contemporary Political Theory 7 (4):416-433.
    There exists the putative assumption that since those values that legitimate social practices and institutions are liberal values, then the most coherent form of justification for their universal applicability must — and can only — be a liberal one. The aim of this article is to unravel the foundations of this assumption and, in doing so, to demonstrate that the transition from comprehensive to political liberalism is an expression of postmodern concerns at the heart of liberalism. The central claim I (...)
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  27. added 2016-12-08
    Can Value Pluralists Be Comprehensive Liberals? Galston's Liberal Pluralism.Robert B. Talisse - 2004 - Contemporary Political Theory 3 (2):127-139.
    In this paper, the author engages William Galston's recent attempt to revive the Berlinian project of developing a comprehensive theory of liberalism from value pluralist premises. The author's argument maintains that, despite Galston's attempts, the value pluralist in fact has no resources with which to recommend a liberal political order over a variety of illiberal regimes, and that, further, Galston's own justificatory strategy is indistinguishable from the later Rawls's noncomprehensive, ‘political' liberalism. Although the argument engages the work of Berlin and (...)
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  28. added 2016-12-08
    Liberalism and Value Pluralism.Jonathan Seglow - 2004 - Contemporary Political Theory 3 (1):122-124.
  29. added 2016-12-08
    Liberal Pluralism: A Reply to Talisse.William Galston - 2004 - Contemporary Political Theory 3 (2):140-147.
    Liberal pluralism is a comprehensive account and justification of liberal democracy that rests on three premises: an account of the structure of morality ; an account of the structure of political life ; and an account of action oriented toward a conception of the good . In a critique, Robert Talisse contends that no coherent path can lead from value pluralism to the justification of liberalism. The only coherent options are to: affirm value pluralism while denying the general validity of (...)
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  30. added 2016-12-08
    Justice and Personal Pursuits.Kok-Chor Tan - 2004 - Journal of Philosophy 101 (7):331-362.
  31. added 2016-08-08
    Healthcare for Unique Individuals: What We Can Learn From Santayana.Michael Brodrick - 2015 - Overheard in Seville 33 (33):45-55.
  32. added 2016-06-07
    Retrospection.Kieran Setiya - 2016 - Philosophers' Imprint 16.
    Argues from the rationality of nostalgia, affirmation, and regret to a principle of ‘specificity’: it can be rational to respond more strongly to facts that provide us with reasons than to the fact that such reasons exist.
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  33. added 2016-04-02
    Liberal Pluralism: The Implications of Value Pluralism for Political Theory and Practice.William A. Galston - 2003 - Political Theory 31 (6):891-896.
    William Galston is a distinguished political philosopher whose work is informed by the experience of having also served from 1993–5 as President Clinton's Deputy Assistant for Domestic Policy. He is thus able to speak with an authority unique amongst political theorists about the implications of advancing certain moral and political values in practice. The foundational argument of this 2002 book is that liberalism is compatible with the value pluralism first espoused by Isaiah Berlin. William Galston defends a version of value (...)
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  34. added 2016-03-15
    Value Pluralism, Diversity and Liberalism.George Crowder - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (3):549-564.
    Few would disagree that contemporary society is characterized by ‘pluralism’, but what this means is widely disputed. Among the many senses of pluralism current in contemporary political theory, ‘value pluralism’ is one of the most keenly contested. The classic account is found in Isaiah Berlin, who sees basic human values as irreducibly multiple, often conflicting, and sometimes incommensurable with one another.Berlin’s pluralist views are scattered throughout his work, but major statements include the Introduction and last section of ‘Two Concepts of (...)
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  35. added 2016-03-15
    Liberalism and Value Pluralism.George Crowder - 2002 - Continuum.
    This is the first book-length defence of liberalism on the basis of value pluralism, complementing and extending the work of Berlin and others.
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  36. added 2016-03-15
    Liberal Pluralism: The Implications of Value Pluralism for Political Theory and Practice.William A. Galston - 2002 - Cambridge University Press.
    William Galston is a distinguished political philosopher whose work is informed by the experience of having also served from 1993–5 as President Clinton's Deputy Assistant for Domestic Policy. He is thus able to speak with an authority unique amongst political theorists about the implications of advancing certain moral and political values in practice. The foundational argument of this 2002 book is that liberalism is compatible with the value pluralism first espoused by Isaiah Berlin. William Galston defends a version of value (...)
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  37. added 2016-03-15
    From Value Pluralism to Liberalism.George Crowder - 1998 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 1 (3):2-17.
  38. added 2016-03-15
    [Book Review] Against Liberalism. [REVIEW]Wallace Matson - 1997 - Ethics 108 (3):602-606.
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  39. added 2016-03-15
    The Morality of Pluralism.John KEKES - 1993 - Princeton University Press.
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  40. added 2016-03-15
    [Book Review] Liberal Purposes, Goods, Virtues, and Diversity in the Liberal State. [REVIEW]William A. GALSTON - 1992 - Ethics 103 (2):393-397.
    This book is a major contribution to the current theory of liberalism by an eminent political theorist. It challenges the views of such theorists as Rawls, Dworkin, and Ackerman who believe that the essence of liberalism is that it should remain neutral concerning different ways of life and individual conceptions of what is good or valuable. Professor Galston argues that the modern liberal state is committed to a distinctive conception of the human good, and to that end has developed characteristic (...)
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  41. added 2016-03-08
    Does Value Pluralism Entail Liberalism?Robert Talisse - 2010 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 7 (3):303-320.
    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.
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  42. added 2016-01-02
    Is Artificial Intelligence A Threat?Ruel F. Pepa - manuscript
    On the one hand, people have witnessed a lot of amazing technological inventions and innovations in the multifaceted performances of artificial intelligence systems ever since the earliest stages of their development. Activities previously done with a lot of manual and muscular efforts are now accomplished with no sweat and just at the tip of one’s finger. I would venture to say that artificial intelligence is among the highest scientific and technological achievements of humanity in the post-modern civilization. Yet on the (...)
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  43. added 2015-11-14
    Moral Failure: On the Impossible Demands of Morality.Lisa Tessman - 2015 - Oup Usa.
    Moral Failure: On the Impossible Demands of Morality asks what happens when the sense that "I must" collides with the realization that "I can't." Bringing together philosophical and empirical work in moral psychology, Lisa Tessman here examines moral requirements that are non-negotiable and that contravene the principle that "ought implies can.".
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  44. added 2015-10-19
    Practical Rationality for Pluralists About the Good.Chappell Timothy - 2003 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 6 (2):161-177.
    I argue that if a normative theory of practical rationality is to represent an adequate and coherent response to a plurality of incommensurable goods, it cannot be a maximising theory. It will have to be a theory that recognises two responses to goods as morally licit – promotion and respect – and one as morally illicit – violation. This result has a number of interesting corollaries, some of which I indicate. Perhaps the most interesting is that it makes the existence (...)
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  45. added 2015-09-15
    Animal Ethics and Politics Beyond the Social Contract.Alan Reynolds - 2014 - Les ateliers de l'éthique/The Ethics Forum 9 (3):208-222.
    Alan Reynolds: This paper is divided into three sections. First, I describe the wide plurality of views on issues of animal ethics, showing that our disagreements here are deep and profound. This fact of reasonable pluralism about animal ethics presents a political problem. According to the dominant liberal tradition of political philosophy, it is impermissible for one faction of people to impose its values upon another faction of people who reasonably reject those values. Instead, we are obligated to justify our (...)
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  46. added 2014-09-22
    The Limits of Liberal Tolerance.Thomas Mulligan - 2015 - Public Affairs Quarterly 29 (3):277-295.
    Political philosophy has seen vibrant debate over the connection, if any, between liberalism and pluralism. Some philosophers, following Isaiah Berlin, reckon a close connection between the two concepts. Others--most notably John Gray--believe that liberalism and pluralism are incompatible. In this essay, I argue that the puzzle can be solved by distinguishing the responsibilities of liberal states to their peoples from the responsibilities of liberal states to other states. There is an entailment from pluralism to liberalism, and it in turn implies (...)
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  47. added 2014-04-09
    Review of David Wong, Natural Moralities: A Defense of Pluralistic Relativism (OUP, 2006). [REVIEW]Diego E. Machuca - 2009 - Philosophy in Review 29 (2):148-150.
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  48. added 2014-04-02
    A Moorean View of the Value of Lives.Kris Mcdaniel - 2014 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 95 (4):23-46.
    Can we understand being valuable for in terms of being valuable? Three different kinds of puzzle cases suggest that the answer is negative. In what follows, I articulate a positive answer to this question, carefully present the three puzzle cases, and then explain how a friend of the positive answer can successfully respond to them. This response requires us to distinguish different kinds of value bearers, rather than different kinds of value, and to hold that among the value bearers are (...)
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  49. added 2014-04-02
    The Dissociative and Polemical Political: Chantal Mouffe and the Intellectual Heritage of Carl Schmitt.Martin Beckstein - 2011 - .
    In her more recent work, Chantal Mouffe enters into what she calls a 'dialogue' with Carl Schmitt on the political. So far, interpretations of this dialogue suggest that Mouffe attempts to revise Schmitt's friend/enemy-distinction and carve out a theory of agonistic pluralism. An interpretation on these grounds, this article argues, reduces the dialogue to its analytical dimension and cannot comfortably be upheld. Mouffe indeed appropriates Schmitt's friend/enemy-distinction, but she also gets inspired by the metatheoretical facet of his intellectual heritage with (...)
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  50. added 2014-04-02
    Giustizia E Conflitti di Valori (Justice and Conflicts of Values).Elvio Baccarini - 2011 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 11 (2):249-255.
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