The Necessity of Value Pluralism in Administrative Practice: A Reply to Overeem

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Overeem and Verhoef’s critique of my understanding of value pluralism (VP) in public administration boils down to two points. First, VP is a meta-ethical position that has little or no truck with the practical field of public administration. And, second, as they argue, even if we granted that VP might be relevant to real-world events, it would be impossible to infer from it the kind of choices that I suggest, as is allegedly demonstrated by the “inconsistency” beween my position and that of Spicer in this issue. Against this I argue for a pragmatist perspective on VP. In a multi-faceted, conflictual world we have no choice but to engage in practical moral judgment. This is called moral awareness and it enhances our understanding of self and the world that we work and live in. Moral awareness also sustains one of the central tasks of public administration: the creation of a just and democratic society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1020-1028
Number of pages9
JournalAdministration and Society
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes


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