The Advantages of Plural Societies

Neera Chandhoke

in Contested Secessions

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077978
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080977 | DOI:
The Advantages of Plural Societies

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The second set of moral considerations that bear upon the right of secession relate to the kind of a society that can provide the best context for human beings to live out their lives. Arguably, such a context is provided by plural societies. However, just because a society contains a number of groups, each of which subscribes to a distinct conception of the good, it does not follow that the society values plurality. The conceptual distance between descriptive pluralism and normative pluralism has to be bridged through arguments that concentrate on why plurality is a good. It is suggested that plural societies should be valued because they (a) enable the making of worthwhile projects, (b) inculcate the spirit of toleration, and (c) enable dialogue. The argument draws upon Gandhi’s ideas on how human beings should relate to others, who are not like them, to establish the case for pluralism.

Keywords: Individualism; communitarianism; Gandhi; toleration; truth; violence; dialogue

Chapter.  14313 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

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