Reason and Identity
This chapter examines the role of identity in moral and political life. Rationalist philosophers argue that moral conduct is based on universally valid principles and that the right thing to do can be objectively determined. This view overlooks the crucial role of personal and collective identity in shaping moral life, and ignores the fact that what is the right thing to do for one person might not be so for another. While identity is an important reason for action, it is itself subject to rational scrutiny and may be overridden in certain circumstances. Developing an identity sensitive view of reason and a reason orientated view of identity provides a badly needed basis to deal with differences in a multicultural society.