The Morality of Pluralism
Controversies about abortion, the environment, pornography, AIDS, and similar issues naturally lead to the question of whether there are any values that can be ultimately justified, or whether values are simply conventional. John Kekes argues that the present moral and political uncertainties are due to a deep change in our society from a dogmatic to a pluralistic view of values. Dogmatism is committed to there being only one justifiable system of values. Pluralism recognizes many such systems, and yet it avoids a chaotic relativism according to which all values are in the end arbitrary. Maintaining that good lives must be reasonable, but denying that they must conform to one true pattern, Kekes develops and justifies a pluralistic account of good lives and values, and works out its political, moral, and personal implications.John Kekes is Professor of Philosophy and Public Policy at the State University of New York, Albany. He is author of Moral Tradition and Individuality (Princeton) and Facing Evil (Princeton).