Critical Notices/Études critiques

What Can Philosophy Teach Us About Multiculturalism?*

Arthur Ripsteina1

a1 University of Toronto

Multiculturalism is an increasingly important topic for philosophers, largely because of the practical problems posed by diversity. Traditional political philosophy had little to say about cultural difference, taking the existence of a shared language and culture pretty much for granted. The multicultural societies of the contemporary world make such assumptions untenable. Traditional questions of fairness and sovereignty find hard cases in such policy issues as immigration, education, criminal law, and freedom of expression.


* Charles Taylor et al., Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994); Ellen Frankel Paul, Fred D. Miller Jr., and Jeffrey Paul, Cultural Pluralism and Moral Knowledge (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994); and Will Kymlicka, Multicultural Citizenship (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995). I am grateful to Steven Davis, Will Kymlicka, Jeff Spinner, and an anonymous referee for comments and discussion.