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Does multiculturalism undermine the universal conceptions of justice?

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  1. The main differences between cultures. In what way they may enter in conflict with a universal conception of justice
  2. Can it be a universal conception of justice shared by all cultures?
  3. Reasons why multiculturalism on the contrary reinforces the existence and the necessity of shared conception of justice

The Greek philosopher Plato believed in the existence of a parallel world which he called the world of Ideas. This world represented true knowledge with the help of concepts called ?the Ideas'. Each Idea corresponded to something that existed in the world that we experienced, also called ?the world of senses'. There were the Ideas of Good, Beauty, and Justice among others. The Ideas never changed, unlike our world of senses. They would exist forever and would always be the only truths in existence. The world of senses was in fact just the shadow of the world of Ideas, and it was the duty of men to try to be as close as possible to the Ideas. Today's world has changed a lot in the past few years and it is not rare to have different cultures living side by side in the same territory in developed countries. This new shape of society is thus characterized by the diversity of backgrounds, religions, traditions, and beliefs. Is it then possible to apply what one might call the Idea of Justice, or a universal conception of justice? The differences are numerous and give birth to multiculturalism. Multiculturalism is the belief that several different cultures (rather than one national culture) can co-exist peacefully and equitably in one single country. The question that arises is if such co-existence is possible in reality. Can several different cultures obey to the same laws and be granted the same rights? Does multiculturalism undermine the universal conceptions of justice? To what extent are universal conceptions of justice compatible with multiculturalism in light of the act that different cultures have different values and that some even have different notions of what is right or wrong?

[...] Does multiculturalism undermine the universal conceptions of justice? The Greek philosopher Plato believed that there was a parallel world: the world of Ideas . This world represented the true knowledge with the help of concepts, the Ideas. Each Idea corresponded to something that existed in the world that we experienced: the world of senses. There was the Idea of Good, of Beauty, of Justice . The Ideas never changed, unlike our world of senses. They would exist forever and would always be the only truths. [...]


[...] Does multiculturalism undermine the universal conceptions of justice? Seeing that different cultures have different values and that some have different notions of what is right or wrong, to what extent are universal conceptions of justice compatible with multiculturalism? I will first try to determine the main differences between cultures, and study in what way they may enter in conflict with a universal conception of justice. Then I will try to answer the question whether there really can be a universal conception of justice shared by all cultures. [...]


[...] Can there be a universal conception of justice, to some extent? Different cultures with different values make it difficult to find that there is a universal conception of justice. Indeed, values are sometimes so profoundly different that it is nearly impossible to imagine how a ground of understanding could be found without a culture accepting to change some of its principles. An example for that is the Western view on the principles of democracy, liberty and equality. Democracy and liberty of thought, among others, are seen as major and obvious rights in Western countries. [...]


[...] The state argued that it wished to avoid particularisms and limit them to the private sphere. What could justify one to say that, indeed, a different treatment could promote egalitarianism? According to some, it is necessary that within a state, different cultures should be given different rights accordingly. In Multicultural Citizenship: A Liberal Theory of Minority Rights , Will Kimlicka argues that for most people the value of cultural membership is primordial and that they are willing to concede a lot in order not to lose their cultural identities. [...]

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