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DOI: 10.4324/9780415249126-S095-1
Version: v1,  Published online: 1998
Retrieved July 25, 2024, from

Article Summary

Multicultural political philosophy explores ways of accommodating cultural diversity fairly. Public policies often have different consequences for members of different cultural groups. For example, given the importance of language to culture, and the role of the modern state in so many aspects of life, the choice of official languages will affect different people very differently. Similar issues arise concerning the cultural content of education and the criminal law, and the choice of public holidays. To avoid policies that create unfair burdens, multicultural theory turns to abstract inquiries about such things as the relation between culture and individual wellbeing, or the relation between a person’s culture and the appropriate standards for judging them. Multiculturalism raises related questions for democratic theory also. Culture may be important to deciding on appropriate units of democratic rule and to the design of special mechanisms for representing minorities within such units. Each of these questions is made more difficult in the context of cultures that reject the demands of liberty or equality. The challenge for philosophers is to develop a principled way of thinking about these issues.

Citing this article:
Ripstein, Arthur. Multiculturalism, 1998, doi:10.4324/9780415249126-S095-1. Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taylor and Francis,
Copyright © 1998-2024 Routledge.

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