Moral Pluralism is also known as ethical pluralism or value pluralism.
Moral Pluralism is the idea that there are several values which may be equally correct and
fundamental, and yet in conflict with each other. Moral pluralism also postulates that
such incompatible values may be incommensurable, in the sense that there is no objective
ordering of them in terms of importance.
Moral Pluralism is an alternative to both moral relativism and moral absolutism. An
example of moral pluralism is the idea that the moral life of a nun is incompatible with
that of a mother, yet there is no purely rational measure of which is preferable. Hence,
moral decisions often require radical preferences with no rational calculus to determine
which alternative is to be selected.
Pluralism describes a society where
individual and group differences are present and are celebrated as enriching the social
Moral Pluralism and the Origin of Political Conflict, Ferrell,
Abstract: Political institutions have frequently been justified as a response to conflict.
Consequently, assumptions about the nature of conflict often shape our conceptions of what
is political. Two of the most prevalent interpretations of conflict regard it as either a
contest of interest or a competition for resources. That is, conflict is often understood
as resulting from an exclusive self-regard or from a situation of scarcity. In each
instance, conflict is thought to entail a situation of insecurity that can only be
overcome through the establishment of political institutions. While such interpretations
of conflict are instructive, they nevertheless provide partial accounts of the sources of
conflict. As I will argue here, there is another conception of conflict one tied to
the idea of moral pluralism which offers a different interpretation of this idea,
and therefore prompts a reconsideration of how we justify our institutions. To show this I
will review arguments concerning the origin of conflict as understood by game
theorys conception of the prisoners dilemma (as seen in the work
of David Gauthier) and the idea of the tragedy of the commons. For from the
perspective of pluralism, moral conflict often escapes explanation in terms of self-regard
Moral Pluralism and Liberal Democracy: Isaiah Berlin's Heterodox
William A. Galston, The Review of Politics (2009), 71:85-99 Cambridge University Press
Abstract: While Isaiah Berlin considered himself principally as a political theorist in
the liberal tradition, his was an unorthodox liberalism in both method and substance,
rooted in the confluence of three traditions, British, Russian, and Jewish. Unlike many
liberals, he wrestled with the tension between universalism and particularism, and also
between individualism and communalities.
Moral Pluralism in Business Ethics Education: It is About Time, Brian K.
Burton, Craig P. Dunn, Western Washington University, Michael Goldsby, Ball State
University, Journal of Management Education, Vol. 30, No. 1, 90-105 (2006)
The teaching of business ethics is almost inherently pluralistic, but little evidence of
explicitly pluralistic approaches exists in teaching materials besides the available
decision-making frameworks. In this article, it is argued that the field needs to
acknowledge and adopt pluralism as the standard pedagogical approach, whether the
individual teacher uses a philosophical approach or a more applied approach, to best serve
students and society.
Moral Pluralism and the Environment, Andrew Brennan
Abstract: Cost-benefit analysis makes the assumption that everything from consumer goods
to endangered species may in principle be given a value by which its worth can be compared
with that of anything else, even though the actual measurement of such value may be
difficult in practice. The assumption is shown to fail, even in simple cases, and the
analysis to be incapable of taking into account the transformative value of new
experiences. Several kinds of value are identified, by no means all commensurable with one
another Ð a situation with which both economics and contemporary ethical theory must come
to terms. A radical moral pluralism is recommended as in no way incompatible with the
requirements of rationality, which allows that the business of living decently involves
many kinds of principles and various sorts of responsibilities. In environmental ethics,
pluralism offers the hope of reconciling various rival theories, even if none of them is
Lawyers, Justice and the Challenge of Moral Pluralism, Katherine R.
Kruse, William S. Boyd School of Law, UNLV, Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 90, No. 2,
Abstract: The debate over whether it serves or undermines the interests of justice for
lawyers to temper the zeal of their advocacy based on considerations of morality or
justice has largely been polarized between two camps: traditionalists and moralists.
Traditionalists defend the amoral role of lawyers, arguing that lawyers should remain
moral neutral in their representation of clients. Moralists propose alternative social
justice lawyering models, which urge lawyers' morally engagement in their choice of
clients, their interpretation of law, and their counseling of clients.
This article revisits the debate by recasting the question at its center. Instead of
inquiring what a lawyer should do when asked to assist an immoral client, it asks what a
lawyer should do when asked to assist a client with whom the lawyer fundamentally morally
disagrees. By shifting the question, this article focuses attention on a subject that has
been largely missing from the debate among lawyering theorists: the challenge of moral
pluralism. Moral pluralism has been widely discussed in political and moral philosophy,
but its implications for lawyering theory have been less fully explored. This article
explores those implications by surveying what political and moral theorists say about the
sources of moral pluralism, and demonstrating how those explanations lead to the creation
of an internal moral perspective. The article then uses this analysis to examine the
shortcomings of both the traditional model of morally neutral lawyering, and the
alternative social justice lawyering models, in the face of moral pluralism.
The existence of moral pluralism also alleviates the concern that lawyers will act in
moral concert, thus eliminating the logical aspects of the last lawyer in town problem,
and leaving only logistical concerns with the provision of legal counsel.
Moral pluralism in abortion, Gardell MA, In: Abortion and the status of
the fetus, edited by William B. Bondeson, H. Tristram Engelhardt, Jr., Stuart F. Spicker
and Daniel H. Winship. Dordrecht, Netherlands, D. Reidel Publishing, 1984. (Philosophy and
Medicine Volume 13)
Abstract: This discussion argues that the state of moral pluralism characterizing the
abortion debate reflects an acceptance of both the implications of human reason and the
obligation to reflect the autonomy of competent individuals. Considering the precedence of
centuries of the imposition of moral orthodoxies by force, this acceptance is no small
accomplishment. To appreciate the pluralism of beliefs at stake concerning abortion, a
good starting point is the observation that Fathers McCartney and Moraczewski hold
distinct views about the fetus and its importance in the development of practices
regarding the fetus.
Reproductive tourism as moral pluralism in motion, Dr G Pennings,
Department of Philosophy, Free University Brussels, Pleinlaan 2, lokaal 5 C 442, B-1050
Brussels, Belgium, Journal of Medical Ethics 2002;28:337-341.
Reproductive tourism is the travelling by candidate service recipients from one
institution, jurisdiction, or country where treatment is not available to another
institution, jurisdiction, or country where they can obtain the kind of medically assisted
reproduction they desire. The more widespread this phenomenon, the louder the call for
international measures to stop these movements.
Three possible solutions are discussed: internal moral pluralism, coerced conformity, and
international harmonisation. The position is defended that allowing reproductive tourism
is a form of tolerance that prevents the frontal clash between the majority who imposes
its view and the minority who claim to have a moral right to some medical service.
Reproductive tourism is moral pluralism realised by moving across legal borders.