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The social theory of anti-liberalism

By Paul Kelly


Value‐pluralists such as John Gray support their argument by reference to the facts of ethical experience: they suggest that value‐pluralism is a more realistic theory of the nature of our ethical practices and their inherent conflicts. In making this claim, this essay argues that value‐pluralists are not merely providing a neutral account of ethical practices but imposing a controversial and positivistic account of morality and ethics. Against this positivistic social theory of moral and ethical practices, the paper will argue that we need a more sophisticated hermeneutic approach to moral phenomena if we are to fully account for the critical and normative dimension of ethical claims. However, once we adopt a hermeneutic approach to moral and ethical enquiry, it is by no means obvious that the strong case for value‐pluralism and incommensurability advanced by John Gray can withstand critical scrutiny. Thus one of the pillars of the value‐pluralist critique of liberal‐egalitarianism collapses

Topics: H Social Sciences (General), JA Political science (General)
Publisher: Routledge
Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13698230600654985
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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