Moral Conflict

The Private, the Public and the Political

in Theoria
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Abstract

This article investigates the connection between the phenomenon of moral conflict and the concepts of the private, the public and the political. In the first part of the article, as a way of locating my pluralistic position within the tradition of authors such as Isaiah Berlin and Steven Lukes, I develop a brief overview of modern meta-ethics and argue that monistic and relativistic explanations of morality are the cause of many of the antinomies that trouble human conduct. In the second part of the article, I make the central contention that moral pluralism is particularly useful in clarifying the concepts of the private, the public and the political as distinct domains of activity. I argue that we should treat moral conflict differently in each of these three domains and conclude that the moral significance and peculiarity of politics has been undeservedly underestimated in contemporary times.

Contributor Notes

Dr Marios Filis is a lecturer of Political Theory at the University of Exeter. His doctoral thesis explored the inner connection between politics and morality from both a historical and an analytical perspective, and his current research and publication interests lie in the theory of moral pluralism and its political implications. He has taught a number of various courses on the History of Political Thought and Political Ethics.

Theoria

A Journal of Social and Political Theory

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