Diverse Diversities

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My project on artificial wisdom and driverless cars has highlighted for me the need to think not only about moral and ethical principles, but how to adjudicate between them when they come into conflict with one another. Some of the readings for the Council of Independent Colleges institute I attended recently in Atlanta on “Diversity, Inclusion, and the Liberal Arts,” as well as some of the talks and presentations given there, seemed to me to require consideration through this lens. Indeed, having come to grips with not only how important the explicit hierarchical ordering of ethical priorities is, but how frequently this comes up, I find myself surprised that this is not discussed more widely and more frequently than it is.

One of the readings for the institute was by Susan Okin, and asked whether multiculturalism is bad for women. The essence of the problem is that cultural diversity includes patriarchal cultures, and efforts to embrace cultural diversity may involve making room for not only unequal gender roles but various kinds of abuse including mutilation (disguised under the label of “female circumcision”). And one of the speakers at the institute was Eboo Patel, who has been highlighting the fact that institutions concerned with diversity often embrace differences in sexuality or gender more readily than in religion.

Higher - Ed - Number - Articles - Weeks

Inside Higher Ed has had a number of articles in recent weeks highlighting the fact that there is a significant difference of opinion (often but not always along generational lines, as one recent study showed) about whether freedom of speech should be top priority, or whether shutting down hate speech ought to be the goal so as to protect and include the voice of victims, the currently and historically marginalized, and minorities and the underrepresented. Apparently even the ACLU is wrestling with the issue in a...
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