What are the implications for politics, in particular for liberalism, of ‘value pluralism’, the view that the most fundamental human goods are irreducibly plural and ‘incommensurable’? One claim is that value pluralism undermines attempts to provide a rational justification of liberalism, since it rules out the possibility of ranking (for good reason) liberal goods above others. Against this claim I argue that not only is the plurality of values compatible with the reasoned defence of liberalism, value pluralism itself generates a distinctive liberal case. It does this in two ways. First, it suggests a ‘contextual’ argument, according to which pluralism gives us a reason to attend to context, which may in turn provide a case for liberalism. Second, it implies a ‘universal’ argument, under which the pluralist outlook commits us to valuing a diversity of goods and ways of life that a liberal framework best accommodates.
|Title of host publication||Pluralism and Liberal Neutrality|
|Editors||Richard Bellamy, Martin Hollis|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Publisher||Taylor and Francis|
|Number of pages||16|
|ISBN (Print)||0714649163, 0714644706|
|Publication status||Published - 1999|