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. [...]
[...] This leaded to the idea that there can indeed be a common universal conception of justice that lies within every human. Will and reason give us morality and enable us to be free, just and equal. We are free to make our own choices as long as they do not harm the freedom of others. This may be seen as an unrealistic, idealist position. However, I remain convinced that it is the belief and the prospect of a better future that will always enable advancement towards a better, more just world. [...]
[...] Another example that shows how important the differences are is the year calendar in Western countries. Indeed it is based on the Christian calendar and Christian events such as Christmas. Other religions, Islam for one, do not have a special holyday for celebrations like Ramadan. This sometimes creates conflicts within a multicultural society. This debate was very present in France where religion is clearly separated from the state and where wearing a veil is forbidden in schools for the sake of the principle of non-religious nature. [...]
[...] There is another important point of the multiculturalism versus universal conceptions of justice debate. It disagrees with the idea that culture is essential to an individual's identity. This is the question of what should be more important between the individual and his culture. Indeed, Will Kymlicka assumes that culture is primordial for the people. This can be contradicted by saying that culture is not necessarily the main component to one's identity, and that what constitutes one's identity and guides his way of living is his individuality, first and foremost. [...]
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