Pluralism and Liberalism

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83 Citations (Scopus)


Meta‐ethical pluralism, as developed in the work of writers like Isaiah Berlin, is the idea that ethical values cannot be reduced to a single hierarchy or system but are irreducibly multiple. It has often been argued that simply to recognize this fact is to have a reason to favour liberal institutions. On the contrary, the plurality of values in itself gives us no reason to support liberalism, indeed no reason to prefer any particular political arrangement to any other. If pluralism is true, the liberal's best defence may lie in appealing, in the manner of writers like Walzer and Rorty, to the de facro limitations on moral commitments imposed by the existing political culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-305
Number of pages13
JournalPolitical Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1994
Externally publishedYes


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