Multiculturalism (Expanded paperback edition)

Multiculturalism (Expanded paperback edition)

Charles Taylor
K. Anthony Appiah
Jürgen Habermas
Steven C. Rockefeller
Michael Walzer
Susan Wolf
Edited and Introduced by Amy Gutmann
Copyright Date: 1994
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Multiculturalism (Expanded paperback edition)
    Book Description:

    A new edition of the highly acclaimed bookMulticulturalism and "The Politics of Recognition,"this paperback brings together an even wider range of leading philosophers and social scientists to probe the political controversy surrounding multiculturalism. Charles Taylor's initial inquiry, which considers whether the institutions of liberal democratic government make room--or should make room--for recognizing the worth of distinctive cultural traditions, remains the centerpiece of this discussion. It is now joined by Jürgen Habermas's extensive essay on the issues of recognition and the democratic constitutional state and by K. Anthony Appiah's commentary on the tensions between personal and collective identities, such as those shaped by religion, gender, ethnicity, race, and sexuality, and on the dangerous tendency of multicultural politics to gloss over such tensions. These contributions are joined by those of other well-known thinkers, who further relate the demand for recognition to issues of multicultural education, feminism, and cultural separatism.

    Praise for the previous edition:

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-2140-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface (1994)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Amy Gutmann
  4. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
    Amy Gutmann
    • Introduction
      (pp. 3-24)

      Public institutions, including government agencies, schools, and liberal arts colleges and universities, have come under severe criticism these days for failing to recognize or respect the particular cultural identities of citizens. In the United States, the controversy most often focuses upon the needs of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, and women. Other groups could easily be added to this list, and the list would change as we moved around the world. Yet it is hard to find a democratic or democratizing society these days that is not the site of some significant controversy over whether and how its public institutions should...

    • The Politics of Recognition
      (pp. 25-74)

      A number of strands in contemporary politics turn on the need, sometimes the demand, forrecognition. The need, it can be argued, is one of the driving forces behind nationalist movements in politics. And the demand comes to the fore in a number of ways in todayʹs politics, on behalf of minority or ʺsubalternʺ groups, in some forms of feminism and in what is today called the politics of ʺmulticulturalism.ʺ

      The demand for recognition in these latter cases is given urgency by the supposed links between recognition and identity, where this latter term designates something like a personʹs understanding of...

    • Comment
      (pp. 75-86)

      Of the many issues Charles Taylorʹs extraordinarily rich and stimulating essay raises, I have chosen to focus on the one he discusses last, and to explore, as Taylor does, the ways in which the politics of recognition properly bears on the issue of multicultural education. Before turning to this topic, though, I feel a need to remark on one of the paths not taken—namely, one that would have focused on specifically feminist concerns. Professor Taylor rightly notes the common historical and theoretical roots of the demand for recognition and of an appreciation of its importance that are evident in...

    • Comment
      (pp. 87-98)

      The liberal democratic tradition has been formed by an ideal of universal freedom, equality, and fulfillment, which even in the best situations has been only partially realized and which may not yet be fully imagined. The spiritual meaning of American history and the history of other democratic nations is chiefly the story of the quest for this ideal. The heart of the liberal tradition is a creative process, a social and individual method of transformation, designed to enable men and women to pursue the embodiment of this ideal. Charles Taylor has made clear the way multiculturalism and the politics of...

    • Comment
      (pp. 99-104)

      If the purpose of commentary is disagreement (that being one of the human values that we mean to defend), then I am bound to be a poor commentator. For I not only admire the historical and philosophical style of Charles Taylorʹs essay, I am entirely in agreement with the views that he presents. So I shall try simply to raise a question from within his own argument, standing as best I can where he is standing—in opposition to a certain sort of high-minded moral absolutism and also to a certain sort of low-minded (he calls it neo-Nietzschean) subjectivism.


    • Struggles for Recognition in the Democratic Constitutional State
      (pp. 107-148)

      Modern constitutions owe their existence to a conception found in modern natural law according to which citizens come together voluntarily to form a legal community of free and equal consociates. The constitution puts into effect precisely those rights that those individuals must grant one another if they want to order their life together legitimately by means of positive law. This conception presupposes the notion of individual[subjektive]rights and individual legal persons as the bearers of rights. While modern law establishes a basis for state-sanctioned relations of intersubjective recognition, the rights derived from them protect the vulnerable integrity of legal...

      (pp. 149-164)

      Charles Taylor is surely right that much of modern social and political life turns on questions of recognition. In our liberal tradition we see recognition largely as a matter of acknowledging individuals and what we call their identities. We also have the notion, which comes (as Taylor also rightly says) from the ethics of authenticity, that, other things being equal, people have the right to be acknowledged publicly as what they already really are. It is because someone is already authentically Jewish or gay that we deny them something in requiring them to hide this fact, to pass for something...

  7. Contributors
    (pp. 165-168)
  8. Index
    (pp. 169-175)