One to avoid, one to engage : unmasking and conflict pluralism as European heritages

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Journal article

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HA: The Journal of the Hannah Arendt Center

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Bard College


The heritage we need to avoid is a way of thinking about those who disagree with us on matters of fundamental moral and political principle—it is the heritage of unmasking. Unmasking is a mode of exposure that accuses a person, argument, or way of life of being fundamentally defective. Unmaskers do not simply claim to see what others have missed; they claim to see through a person or object. The heritage which we should engage is one that I call conflict pluralism - colliding modes of life and clashing estimates of the good that rational argument is unable to resolve but which a democratic polity must accommodate if it is to remain pluralist

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Funding Information

Part of the research on which this article is based was generously supported by a Fellowship in the Humanities and Social Sciences funded by the Hong Kong ResearchGrants Committee. Fund Code: PF14A1 {PF14A1}

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Copyright © 2015 Bard College. All rights reserved. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Additional Information

The author originally delivered this essay as a lecture at “What Europe? Ideals to Fight for Today,” a conference held at Bard College Berlin on March 27 and 28, 2014. More information on the conference can be found here: http://conference.berlin.bard.edu/

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Recommended Citation

Weber, M. (2015). One to avoid, one to engage: Unmasking and conflict pluralism as European heritages. HA: The Journal of the Hannah Arendt Center, 3, 107-120.