In Plato’s metaphor of the cave, a philosopher leaves the cave and brings back news from the world outside. A single fugitive can bring one truth, but several fugitive-philosophers would bring back diverse accounts. None of them can be proven the one unquestionably true account of what is outside the cave. That authority in the cave rules legitimately when confined to the area of overlapping of these accounts: that is what John Rawls calls public “reason”. This way of justifying a pluralistic stance, avoids the trap of turning the defense of pluralism into a non-plural truth and understands it as “most reasonable for us”.
- Casablanca, Morocco, hosted in July an important international conference on Sources of Pluralism in Islamic Thought. This is a topical subject, but above all one worthy of being debated with the wider public, whose perception is that Islam has been a never-changing monolith with no internal differentiations since the days of Muhammad.
- “It seems today that the acceptance of secularism within the Muslim world is extremely far away. It is as if, on the basis of deeply-held convictions, Muslim society were demanding a form of not exactly theocracy, but certainly a ‘moralisation’ of public life.” So says Abdou Filali-Ansary, director of the Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilizations at the University of Aga Khan, London. The director and founder of the Moroccan literary review ‘Prologues,’ Filali-Ansary is also the author of a number of works on the reformist tradition within the Islamic world, including L’Islam est-il hostile à la laïcité? (2002) and Réformer l’Islam? – Une introduction aux débats contemporains (2003). He recently spoke at ResetDoc’s Istanbul Seminars 2011 (19-23 May).