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Multicultural Questions$
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Christian Joppke and Steven Lukes

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198296102

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019829610X.001.0001

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Is Universalism Ethnocentric?

Is Universalism Ethnocentric?

(p.27) 2 Is Universalism Ethnocentric?
Multicultural Questions

Martin Hollis

Oxford University Press

Martin Hollis (in one of his last writings before his untimely death) opens up the first section, Is Universalism Ethnocentric?, with a fiery defence of Enlightenment universalism and an attack on the relativist who says ‘Liberalism for the liberals; cannibalism for the cannibals.’ Focusing especially on universal claims about human nature, civil society, and the best forms of government, Hollis argues for a substantive and not merely procedural liberalism as a ‘fighting creed with universalist pretensions’ that can justify ‘robust and sharp‐edged moral declarations’. As Hollis argues, universalism works for minorities too. This is because excluded minorities must show that they have been wrongly excluded; they need a standpoint that is ‘not cognitively arbitrary’ to exclude racists and sexists.

Keywords:   Ethnocentrism, liberalism, multiculturalism, Objectivism, Pluralism, Reason, Relativism, universalism

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