Cultural Diversity as Cultural Dogma

We hear a lot about cultural diversity today, and those who espouse it like to say that respect for it in the West is a result of non-Western influences and is a recent phenomenon. This is a rather surprising claim, for two reason: first, because there is probably no society outside the West that is as interested in what other societies have to say, and second, because the value of diversity, far from being a fad of the past few decades, is a dogma of at least the past two centuries. Why and how to pursue diversity is a story that begins in the Enlightenment, and certain Enlightenment texts could serve quite literally as its Bible.

Samuel Fleischacker, The Ethics of Culture (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994), 208.


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