- John Gray and the implications of value pluralism for legal philosophy (2012)
- John Gray is the thinker who has reconstructed the main tenets of ethical pluralism inherent in the work of its initiator - Isaiah Berlin - and pointed to its consequences for political philosophy. In particular he singled out three levels of conflict in ethics identifiable in Berlin’s writings: among the ultimate values belonging to the same morality or code of conduct, among whole ways or styles of life and within goods or values which are themselves internally complex and inherently pluralistic. It is the third, internal kind of conflict that proves to be the richest in implications.Because it undermines a whole constellation of contemporary liberal doctrines informed by the Kantian-Lockean tradition that conform to the legal paradigm. From the pluralist perspective such monumental theories (e.g. those of Rawls or Dworkin) are no longer sustainable due to the recognition that no ultimate value is immune to the phenomenon of incommensurability. Thus, irresolvable conflicts may also break out within the given regulative value. Confronting ethical pluralism with general reflection on law has mostly negative consequences. Nevertheless, the incommensurability thesis sheds considerable light on certain legal disputes. This claim will be illustrated by interpreting from the pluralist perspective the controversy over the verdict by the European Tribunal of Human Rights of 3 November 2010 concerning hanging crosses in classrooms.