AskDefine | Define pluralism

Dictionary Definition

pluralism n : the doctrine that reality consists of several basic substances or elements

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The quality or state of being plural, or in the plural number.
  2. The state of a pluralist; the holding of more than one ecclesiastical living at a time.
  3. In social sciences, a social system based on mutual respect for each other's cultures among various groups that make up a society, wherein subordinate groups do not have to forsake their lifestyle and traditions but, rather, can express their culture and participate in the larger society free of prejudice.


the quality or state of being plural
  • Croatian: pluralizam
the state of pluralist
  • Croatian: pluralizam
a social system based on mutual respect for each other's cultures among various groups
  • Croatian: pluralizam


Extensive Definition

Pluralism is used, often in different ways, across a wide range of topics:
  • Scientific pluralism, the view that some phenomena observed in science require multiple explanations to account for their nature
  • Methodological pluralism, the view that some phenomena observed in science and social science require multiple methods to account for their nature
  • Pluralism (political philosophy), the acknowledgment of diversity
  • Pluralism (political theory), holds that political power in society does not lie with the electorate but is distributed among a wide number of groups
  • Pluralism (philosophy), entirely unrelated positions in metaphysics and epistemology
  • Value pluralism, the idea that there are several values which may be equally correct and fundamental, and yet in conflict with each other
  • Cosmic pluralism, the belief in numerous other worlds beyond the Earth which harbour extraterrestrial life
  • Religious pluralism, a term used to describe the acceptance of all religious paths as equally valid, promoting coexistence
  • Cultural pluralism, when small groups within a larger society maintain their unique cultural identities
  • Economic pluralism, the diversity of business sizes, types, and industries
  • Legal pluralism, allows for moral laws that are unwritten as formal laws
  • In art, the art of the current period where every style is practiced, characterizing late 20th and early 21st century Contemporary art
  • In the sense of holding multiple ecclesiastical offices, see benefice
  • Pluralist School, a Greek school of pre-Socratic philosophers

See also

pluralism in Czech: Pluralismus
pluralism in Welsh: Lluosogaeth
pluralism in Danish: Pluralisme
pluralism in German: Pluralismus
pluralism in Norwegian: Pluralisme
pluralism in Polish: Pluralizm
pluralism in Slovak: Pluralizmus
pluralism in Finnish: Pluralismi

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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