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The Multiculturalism of Fear$
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Jacob T. Levy

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198297123

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198297122.001.0001

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Pluralism, Diversity, and Preserving Cultural Communities

Pluralism, Diversity, and Preserving Cultural Communities

(p.98) 4 Pluralism, Diversity, and Preserving Cultural Communities
The Multiculturalism of Fear

Jacob T. Levy (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Examines and criticizes a number of more common arguments for the moral importance of political action that protects cultural variety. It argues that different cultures do not embody different moralities which are incommensurable and incapable of judging one another. Whatever the truth of the idea of moral or value pluralism, cultural pluralism is not its march through the world. Arguments grounded in diversity fail to take sufficiently seriously the freedom of group members, and lead to an aestheticization of group difference that actively condemns cultural fluidity. Arguments for cultural preservation that are based in collective action problems typically also fail to take group members’ freedom seriously, and require the imputation of preferences to them that the state has no way to truly discern.

Keywords:   Isaiah Berlin, collective action, cultural pluralism, cultural preservation, difference, diversity, freedom, moral pluralism, preferences, Charles Taylor

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