Natural Moralities: A Defense of Pluralistic Relativism

David Wong

The author proposes that there can be a plurality of true moralities, moralities that exist across different traditions and cultures, all of which address facets of the same problem: how we are to live well together. He examines a wide array of positions and texts within the Western canon as well as in Chinese philosophy, and draws on philosophy, psychology, evolutionary theory, history, and literature, to make a case for the importance of pluralism in moral life, and to establish the virtues of acceptance and accommodation. His point is that there is no single value or principle or ordering of values and principles that offers a uniquely true path for human living, but variations according to different contexts that carry within them a common core of human values. We should thus be modest about our own morality, learn from other approaches, and accommodate different practices in our pluralistic society.