Confident Pluralism: Values for Peaceful Science?

Once again thinking about values today. My colleague at WUSTL, John Inazu, wrote a book called Confident Pluralism. He has been working with Tim Keller to promote it, looking for ways to seek the common good together in a fractured society.

The premise of confident pluralism is that we can make room for our differences even as we maintain our own beliefs and practices.

Which informs my notion of a A Secular-Confessional Society. Here are three values he puts forward:

The personal argument focuses on civic practices rooted in three aspirations: tolerance, humility, and patience.

  • Tolerance acknowledges that people should generally be free to pursue their own beliefs and practices. This is not the same as approval; it is much closer to endurance. We can usually respect people even if we don’t respect their ideas.

  • Humility recognizes that we will sometimes be unable to prove to others why we believe we are right and they are wrong.

  • Patience asks us to listen, understand, and empathize with those who see the world differently.

He approaches this as a lawyer. I wonder what this could mean for us as scientists.