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Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Reply to Levey, Newman and Cohen

Cohen-Almagor, Raphael



This is my reply to the symposium articles, written by Levey, Newman and Cohen. Any critique of Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism should consider the underpinning principles of the theory. I made it clear that the theory is restricted to democracies and the principles that guide the theory are essentially liberal. Illiberal groups within democracies are therefore challenged. At the outset, I made following premises: Premises of the Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism Theory Respect for multiculturalism is respecting diversity, the mosaic of traditions and cultural pluralism within societies which enriches society and enhances our humanity as we allow people to promote their myriad conceptions of the good. Compromise: Many of the issues that engulf society and create cleavages can be resolved via deliberations and compromises. Political and social conflicts can be mitigated and tamed by compromises. While politics is bound to include a conflictual dimension, liberal democracy is oriented towards a sustained quest for compromise. Deliberative democracy: Governments should not behave like a bull in a china shop. A government should conduct its affairs vis-à-vis minority cultures with sensitivity and determination, setting reasonable ends, opening channels of communications, seeking accommodation and compromise that show respect both to the values of the state and to the minority cultures. Freedom v. coercion: People would like to lead their lives as free and autonomous human beings. Instinctively, coercion is foreign to us, might be offensive to our sensibilities and lead to an increased sense of alienation and resentment. This is not to say that coercion is never employed in liberal democracies. But whenever coercion is employed, it should be backed with firm, legitimate, and reasonable justifications. Gender equality: Men, women and transgender people should enjoy equal human and civil rights. Men are not inferior to women. Women are not inferior to men. Transgender people are not inferior to men and women. Granted that men and women are biologically different, biology should not lead to a differentiation of rights and liberties. Countries that have perceived biology as the dictating factor have always been racist countries. Religion is a matter of personal choice, faith and belief. Because religion provides an all-encompassing framework for all matters, people should be free to take what is appealing to them and reject aspects that are less appealing.


Cohen-Almagor, R. (2022). Just, Reasonable Multiculturalism: Reply to Levey, Newman and Cohen. Philosophia,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 20, 2022
Publication Date Jun 20, 2022
Deposit Date Jul 28, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 21, 2023
Journal Philosophia
Print ISSN 0048-3893
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Amish; Circumcision; Compromise; Culture; Education; FGM; France; Israel; Justice; Liberalism; Multiculturalism; Neutrality; Religion; Tolerance
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