<metaphysics, political philosophy, ethics> 1. in ontology the theory that reality is composed or can be explained in terms of two or more fundamental (types of) substance, energy, or force. In the modern era Cartesian dualism represents the most notable pluralist hypothesis. Among the ancients, the pluralism of Pythagorus and Democritus is usually contrasted to the monism of the Milesians (Thales, Anaximenes, Anaximander) and Eleatics (Parmenides, Miletus, Zeno).
2. in political philosophy the term pluralism is also used to refer to political systems that allow more than one political party (roughly equivalent to democracy as opposed to totalitarianism).
3. in ethics, the belief that there are multiple perspectives on an issue, each of which contains part of the truth but none of which contain the whole truth. Moral pluralism is the belief that different moral theories each capture part of truth of the moral life, but none of those theories has the entire answer. Recommended Reading: Andrew L. Blais, On the Plurality of Actual Worlds (Massachusetts, 1997); John Kekes, Pluralism in Philosophy: Changing the Subject (Cornell, 2000); Michael P. Lynch, Truth in Context: An Essay on Pluralism and Objectivity (MIT, 1998); Nicholas Rescher, Pluralism: Against the Demand for Consensus (Clarendon, 1995); Michael Walzer, Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality (Basic, 1984); and Philosophy and Pluralism, ed. by David Archard (Cambridge, 1996).
based on [The Ism Book, Ethics Glossary, Philosophical Glossary], [A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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