Public Reason: Vol. 5, No. 1, June 2013
Multiculturalism as a Deliberative Ethic
Shaun P. Young & Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos

Difficult questions regarding the so-called limits of toleration or accommodation
are inevitable in today’s diverse, immigration societies. Such questions cannot be satisfactorily
answered through simple assertions of the majority’s will or by retreating to a defense of ‘core
liberal values.’ Rather, dealing with the challenges of diversity in a manner consistent with
liberal-democratic principles requires that decision-making concerning the terms of collective
life be informed by sincere and respectful deliberation. But how and where do we go about
engaging in such deliberation? This essay suggests that the courts seem to offer an arena that
is more conducive than other traditional democratic institutions in terms of enabling the type
of dialogue and analysis essential to realizing meaningful deliberation. Paradoxically, then,
the judicialization of politics can be understood to be an ally, not an enemy, of meaningful
deliberation in diverse democracies.

Key words: diversity, meaningful deliberation, public reason, multicultural democracy,
majority-rule decision-making.


Young, Shaun P., and Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos. 2013. Multiculturalism as a Deliberative Ethic. Public Reason 5 (1): 49-68.