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The positions of Berlin's pluralism

Kajornprasart , Wattaneeporn (2012) The positions of Berlin's pluralism. MPhil thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

The positions of Berlin’s pluralism There are three possible positions for Berlin’s pluralism. Firstly, it can be PUT – Pluralism as a Universal Theory. Secondly, it can be PPT- Pluralism as a Particular Theory and thirdly, it can be PMT – Pluralism as a Meta-Theory. We can analyse the real position of Berlin’s pluralism from two separate pieces of writing: his Russian history and his moral philosophy. And these two pieces tend to indicate that pluralism is a universal theory or PUT. That is, in his Russian history, Berlin seems to rank three Russian thinkers – Herzen, Tolstoy and Turgenev – on top as being superior to all others and present them as pluralists. It can be inferred that he presents pluralism as normative or PUT through his analysis of the three thinkers. In Berlin’s writing on moral philosophy, Berlin seems to connect his pluralism with traditional liberalism by the value of negative freedom. And if pluralism is part of liberalism, it can be inferred again that pluralism is a universal theory or PUT like liberalism. However, the research in this thesis shows that pluralists are eclectic thinkers who draw for some ideas on the counter-enlightenment and other ideas on the enlightenment. Berlin does not present the three thinkers as pluralists. He just admires some of their counter-enlightenment ideas. So he does not present pluralism as a universal theory through the three thinkers. The eclectic character of pluralism also makes it clear that, in his moral philosophy, Berlin does not intend to make his pluralism part of liberalism, since liberalism is more of an enlightenment idea than the eclectic idea that is Berlin’s pluralism. While Berlin’s pluralism as eclectic does not collapse into either side of liberalism, it is clear that the theory is independent from them. And the possibility that pluralism is a universal theory or PUT through the description of these three thinkers or through the connection with traditional liberalism is therefore false. As an independent theory, pluralism can be a universal theory (PUT) by itself but the indications in Berlin’s writings especially in his moral philosophy lead to the conclusion that pluralism is not a universal theory (PUT) but a particular theory (PPT) and a meta-theory (PMT).

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil)
Academic Units: The University of York > Philosophy (York)
Depositing User: Miss Wattaneeporn Kajornprasart
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2014 11:07
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2014 11:07
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/6491

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