A Multicultural Society Needs a Relational Reason

Pierpaolo Donati

Summary: 1. The challenge of multiculturalism. 2. The root deficit. 3. Expanding the range of reason with “relational reason,” as an alternative to  multiculturalism and as a way of achieving a new “common world”. 3.1. Which reason should be used to address differences/diversity? 3.2. The semantics of difference, relational reason, and the common world. 3.3 The emergence of a relational semantics. 4. Relational reason: expanding reason through social relationships.

Abstract: Recent sociological research ha shown that the ideology of multiculturalism has generated more negative than positive effects (fragmentation of the society, separation of minorities, cultural relativism). The idea of interculturality has the advantage to stress the ‘inter’, namely what lies in between different cultures. But it does not possess yet the conceptual and effective means to understand and handle the problems of the public sphere. To go over the failures of multiculturalism and the fragilities of interculturality, a new approach to the coexistence of cultures is required, being able to give strength back to Reason, through new semantics of the inter-human diversity. The Author suggests the development of the "relational reason", beyond the forms already known of rationality. To make human reason relational might be the best way to imagine a social order being able to humanize the globalizing processes and the growing migrations.

Keywords: Multiculturalism, recognition, cultural difference, relational reason, civil society.