Preprint. Political Research Quarterly, Volume 62, Issue 2, June 1, 2009, pages 244-256.
Copyright © 2009 Sage Publications.
The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1065912908320666.
One major focus of recent value-pluralist literature has been the question of what normative consequences follow from pluralism. This essay critically examines three arguments that attempt to show that either liberalism or a bounded modus vivendi is the state of affairs that pluralism makes morally preferable. All three arguments are shown to encounter the same fundamental problem—once we have agreed that values and sets of values are unrankable, any effort to claim that one such set is morally preferable will inevitably contradict value pluralism, either explicitly or implicitly. If this is correct, it seems that pluralism leads to relativism.