PLURALISM AND THE PLACE OF RELIGION IN A DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY: EMPHASIZING RORTY'S VIEW

THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMANITIES (THE JOURNAL OF HUMANITIES) 12 (3):29-40 (2005)
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Abstract

Asking about the place of religion in a democratic society refers straightforwardly to the kind of pluralism we adopt. Given that intra-societal tensions mark out a democratic pluralistic society, then it seems that there is no doubt that there should be a place for religion and religious people in it. What is crucial for a democratic society is taking a suitable view on pluralism. There could be, at least, two versions of pluralism: Incommensurable or radical and commensurable or moderate. It is argued that the incommensurable account of pluralism confronts with serious problems both theoretically (like the impossibility of outer critique) and practically (like replacing persuasion with force). Rorty advocates a commensurable pluralism based on pragmatic conventions or "know-how" skills without any meta-narrative or translation manual among the doctrines of rival views. However, along with Davidson, it is stated that some kind of translation among the rival views is inevitable. In addition, it is argued that commensurable pluralism could not be limited to merely know-how skills and it needs some know-that insights. This view of pluralism not only opens the door of dialogue, but also provides a basis for removing superficial differences or conflicts between the rivals. Real differences, however, could remain and should be tolerated.

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Khosrow Bagheri Noaparast
University of Tehran

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