Chapter

Is Universalism Ethnocentric?

Martin Hollis

in Multicultural Questions

Published in print October 1999 | ISBN: 9780198296102
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191599583 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/019829610X.003.0002
 Is Universalism Ethnocentric?

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Martin Hollis (in one of his last writings before his untimely death) opens up the first section, Is Universalism Ethnocentric?, with a fiery defence of Enlightenment universalism and an attack on the relativist who says ‘Liberalism for the liberals; cannibalism for the cannibals.’ Focusing especially on universal claims about human nature, civil society, and the best forms of government, Hollis argues for a substantive and not merely procedural liberalism as a ‘fighting creed with universalist pretensions’ that can justify ‘robust and sharp‐edged moral declarations’. As Hollis argues, universalism works for minorities too. This is because excluded minorities must show that they have been wrongly excluded; they need a standpoint that is ‘not cognitively arbitrary’ to exclude racists and sexists.

Keywords: Ethnocentrism; liberalism; multiculturalism; Objectivism; Pluralism; Reason; Relativism; universalism

Chapter.  8369 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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