Dissertation, Canterbury Christ Church University (2012)

Matthew Jones
University of Greenwich
Issues relating to diversity and pluralism continue to permeate both social and political discourse. Of particular contemporary importance and relevance are those issues raised when the demands associated with forms of pluralism clash with those of the liberal state. These forms of pluralism can be divided into two subcategories: thin and thick pluralism. Thin pluralism refers to forms of pluralism that can be accommodated by the existing liberal framework, whereas thick pluralism challenges this liberal framework. This thesis is an examination of four forms of political association that may be able to accommodate and support the demands of pluralism. These four models are Rawls’ political liberalism, Crowder’s value pluralism, Rorty’s post-foundational liberalism, and Mouffe’s radical democratic project. What unites these four forms of political association is their capacity to avoid the exclusionary effects of a form of liberalism that I, following Gaus, refer to as Enlightenment liberalism. As the name suggests, this conception of liberalism is anchored in the Enlightenment, and in particular with what may be considered as the Enlightenment view of reason. As such, therefore, Enlightenment liberalism is both universal and perfectionist. In this context, I argue that Enlightenment liberalism is a species of what Berlin refers to as ‘moral monism’. These four forms of political association are ordered in such a way as to chart an intellectual trajectory. Rawls and Crowder are both situated firmly within the liberal tradition, whereas Rorty and Mouffe move beyond this, and embrace a form of post-foundational politics. It is in this trajectory that the second theme of this thesis emerges. This is centred on a paradox: in order to avoid the exclusionary effect of Enlightenment liberalism and embrace a form of political association that meets the demands of pluralism and diversity, the models examined still promote autonomy as the dominant virtue.
Keywords Enlightenment  Enlightenment liberalism  liberalism  Isaiah Berlin  John Rawls  Richard Rorty  Chantal Mouffe  George Crowder  political liberalism  value pluralism
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References found in this work BETA

Kantian Constructivism in Moral Theory.John Rawls - 1930 - Journal of Philosophy 77 (9):515-572.
Justice as Fairness: Political Not Metaphysical.John Rawls - 1985 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 14 (3):223-251.
Can the Subaltern Speak?Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak - 1988 - Die Philosophin 14 (27):42-58.
The Law of Peoples.John Rawls - 1993 - Critical Inquiry 20 (1):36-68.

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