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Chris Durante’s comments on my article about the compatibility of universal morality, particular moralities and multiculturalism indicate that we have very different approaches to and understandings of these three notions. Durante investigates multiculturalism from the perspective of political philosophy, whereas my approach is grounded in moral rather than political philosophy. Since he refers to his framework as an ‘ethico-political theory’, he may regard his account as a synthesis of moral and political philosophy, but this representation seems incorrect. He repeatedly refers to his discussions of multiculturalism using the language of ‘political ethics’, ‘political theory’, ‘political philosophy’, ‘political system’, ‘political ramifications’, ‘political order’, ‘political liberalism’, ‘political community’, ‘political society’, ‘political principles’ and related concepts. He bluntly states his view about the centrality of political theory: ‘Multiculturalism…is primarily concerned with establishing a political system with moral undertones rather than a moral system with political ramifications’.
I take the reverse view. Durante assumes without argument that multiculturalism finds its origins and home in political philosophy; by contrast, I envision multiculturalism as primarily a moral theory about obligations to tolerate moral differences in the face of conflicts between cultural groups. I do not deny that political philosophy is relevant to the resolution of various problems of multicultural …
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