Convenor: Matthew Jones

The thesis of value pluralism is considered by some contemporary liberal political philosophers to be of use when deliberating on pressing political issues, such as toleration, diversity and pluralism. However, despite agreement on its potential usefulness, those who are sympathetic to the thesis of value pluralism, with its distinctly Berlinian origins, differ substantially as to the ramifications of its political application. George Crowder, for instance, argues that value pluralism is not only compatible with liberalism, but it actually suggests a form of liberalism that focuses on the individual, whereas William Galston posits that value pluralism is more favourable to a form of liberalism that focuses on group rights. John Gray argues that value pluralism actually undermines any universal argument for liberalism, and suggests a form of agonistic liberalism and a modus vivendi political arrangement.

This workshop will explore the thesis of value pluralism, and its political implications. Papers are encouraged that address issues surrounding value pluralism and political philosophy. For example, these may include papers that enquire into the following areas: does value pluralism provide support for liberalism? If so, how does it reconcile the competing demands for group rights and individual rights? What is the role of the state in a value pluralist liberal polity? Is Gray’s thesis correct, in that value pluralism actually undermines liberalism? If so, what are implications of this?