What’s wrong with Charles Taylor’s moral pluralism

Ithaque 17:21-43 (2015)


In political philosophy one often encounters claims on behalf of pluralism, yet there is anything but a consensus over the meaning of this fundamental concept. It is true that there is no single pluralist tradition; rather, there are different pluralist traditions within different domains of practical reason. No one would object, however, to the notion that Isaiah Berlin’s “value pluralism” is a genuine form of meta-ethical pluralism. Charles Taylor is another philosopher who is often called a pluralist, but I shall argue that this is a mistake. One of the central goals of his philosophy is that of reconciling competing aims and ends and this is incompatible with pluralism.

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Didier Zúñiga
McGill University

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