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The Fact of Diversity and Reasonable Pluralism

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image of Journal of Moral Philosophy

Contemporary society involves a number of different persons, groups, and ways of life that are deeply divided and very often opposed on fundamental matters of deep concern. Today, many contemporary philosophers regard this 'fact of diversity' as a problem that needs to be addressed when assessing the principles employed to organize society. In this paper, I discuss the fact of diversity, as it is understood by the notion of reasonable pluralism, and explain why it is thought by some to challenge the stability of a society's political morality. I examine the leading attempt to offer an account of the stability of a political morality and I argue that John Rawls's attempt to account for the stability of Justice as Fairness fails for reasons applicable to all political moralities because the very notion of a stable political morality is implausible. Diversity, as reasonable pluralism understands it, is not a problem that can be solved either by identifying a stable political morality or by modifying a political morality in some way that will make it more stable. Instead, the fact of diversity indicates only that disagreements on all aspects of society's organization, including its organizing principles and matters of value, is a permanent feature of social life that cannot be ignored, wished away, or solved.


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