Political Correctness: the Twofold Protection of Liberalism

Sandra Dzenis, Filipe Nobre Faria

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Abstract

As understood today, political correctness aims at preventing social discrimination by curtailing offensive speech and behaviour towards underprivileged groups of individuals. The core proponents of political correctness often draw on post-modernism and critical theory and are notorious for their scepticism about objective truth and scientific rationality. Conversely, the critics of post-modern political correctness uphold Enlightenment liberal principles of scientific reasoning, rational truth-seeking and open discourse against claims of relativism and oppression. Yet, both the post-modern proponents and their Enlightenment liberal critics make up two sides of the same phenomenon of political correctness. Both sides intend to protect a liberal value system from illiberal truth-claims, which is the function of politically correct regulation. While post-modern advocates attempt to promote liberating tolerance, Enlightenment liberals place liberal values above the open-ended search for truth. Despite appearances to the contrary, this socio-academic debate is not about two sides favouring and opposing political correctness. In fact, it is a debate about the type of politically correct regulation that can better guard liberal values.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPhilosophia (United States)
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

Keywords

  • Enlightenment
  • Liberal science
  • Liberating tolerance
  • Political correctness
  • Politics of speech
  • Post-modernism

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