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Jeremy Waldron on Diversity (Politics) - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 90
Diversity/society/toleration/pluralism/liberalism/Waldron: (...) by elaborating and defending liberal principles and liberal solutions to the problems of social life (…), we seem to be taking sides in the midst of cultural and ethical plurality.
Toleration/Locke/Waldron: (...) part of the Lockean defence of religious toleration is built up on religious foundations: ‘The toleration of those that differ from others in matters of religion,’ says Locke, ‘is so agreeable to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that it seems monstrous for men to be so blind as not to perceive the necessity and advantage of it in so clear a light’ (1983(1): 25). >Toleration/Locke.
Problem/Waldron: Maybe you cannot see what is really important about toleration except from a perspective that invokes particular values and particular philosophical conceptions.
Gaus I 91
Hobbes: Another may opt for a ‘lowest common denominator’ approach, emphasizing justificatory premises that all members of a pluralist society may be presumed to accept, whatever the differences in their ethics or world view. And the phrase ‘may be presumed to accept’ may be glossed in various ways, ranging from the idea of universally accessible reasons and reasoning to some fairly aggressive account of basic human interests, like the survivalist account developed by Hobbes (1991)(2). >Toleration/Waldron.
Gaus I 94
Individualism/Rawls/SandelVsRawls/Communitarianism/Waldron: (...) the individualism of Rawls’s thin theory drew criticism from communitarian philosophers, who repudiated the implicit assumption that individual plans of life are chosen by persons unencumbered by prior commitments and allegiances. Those who thought of themselves as essentially members of a particular family or community or people might find it hard to accept a theory of justice oriented at foundational level to the well-being of persons conceived as liberated from all such attachments (Sandel, 1982)(1).
Diversity/inhomogeneity/society/Rawls: ‘[H]ow is it possible,’ Rawls asked, ‘for there to exist over time a just and stable society of free and equal citizens who remain profoundly divided by reasonable religious, philosophical, and moral doctrines?’ (1993(3): 4).
Gaus I 95
Waldron: The key (...) is to insist that an acceptable theory of justice, T, must be such that, among whatever reasons there are for rejecting T or disagreeing with T, none turn on T’s commitment to a particular conception of value or other comprehensive philosophical conception. >Individualism/Rawls, >Rawls/Waldron.
Solution/Rawls: Instead Rawls develops the idea that T should represent an overlapping moral consensus among {C1 , C2 , … , Cn }. By this he means that T could be made acceptable on moral grounds to the adherents of C1 , and acceptable on moral grounds to the adherents of C2 , and so on.
Diversity/Toleration//Locke/Kant/Rawls/Waldron: Thus, for example, the proposition that religious toleration is required as a matter of justice may be affirmed by Christians on Lockean grounds having to do with each person’s individualized responsibility to God for his own religious beliefs, by secular Lockeans on the grounds of unamenability of belief to coercion, by Kantians on the grounds of the high ethical
Gaus I 96
importance accorded to autonomy, by followers of John Stuart Mill on the basis of the importance of individuality and the free interplay of ideas, and so on. >Toleration/Locke,
Waldron: Whether this actually works is an issue we considered when we discussed Ackerman’s approach to neutrality. >Neutrality/Waldron, >Overlapping consensus/Rawls.


1. Locke, John (1983 [1689]) A Letter Concerning Toleration, ed. James H. Tully. Indianapolis: Hackett.
2. Hobbes, Thomas (1991 [1651]) Leviathan, ed. Richard Tuck. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
3. Rawls, John (1993) Political Liberalism. New York: Columbia University Press.

Waldron, Jeremy 2004. „Liberalism, Political and Comprehensive“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Waldron, Jeremy
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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