Particularism refers to a wide variety of different approaches in different fields only some of which are described here. It can refer to an exclusive devotion to the interests of one's own social group. A literary school, Particularism describes a style of writing applied to fiction, non-fiction or lyrics that indicates an attention to detail, or particulars. Particularism is often contrasted to universalism.

Multicultural particularism

In discussions of multiculturalism, historian and educator Diane Ravitch draws a distinction between what she terms "pluralistic" and "particularistic" varieties. Other writers often blur or ignore this distinction; it is often difficult to discern whether advocacy for "diversity" or "multiculturalism" is intended to promote particularism or not. In some quarters, even to raise the issue is taboo.

In a long essay about multiculturalism in American education, Ravitch praises the inclusiveness of multicultural pluralism while decrying what she says as multiple flaws and failures of multicultural particularism. []

Epistemological particularism

In the study of knowledge, particularism refers to the approach where one asks the question "What do we know?" "before" asking "How do we know?" The term appears in Roderick Chisholm's "The Problem of the Criterion", and in the work of his student, Ernest Sosa ("The Raft and the Pyramid: Coherence versus Foundations in the Theory of Knowledge"). Particularism is contrasted with methodism, which answers the latter question before the former.

Since the question "What do we know" implies that we know, it is fundamentally anti-skeptical.

Ethical particularism

The view that there are no moral principles, moral judgement being decided on a case by case basis, in contrast to principalism which bases such judgement on well known theories (e.g. deontology, utilitarianism). Particularism asserts there are no overriding principles applicable in every case. Jonathan Dancy is a proponent of this approach. [Dancy, Jonathan (2004). Ethics without principles, Oxford: Oxford University Press.]

Political particularism

A politics of group identity that trumps universal rights and therefore the rights of minorities or any other kind of “other.” In Particularism the decisive factor of politics becomes religious and ethnic identity and the interests of the communities defined by these bonds. Instead of the ideas and values of political Pluralism with its emphasis on universal rights, separation of religion and the government and an ethic of religious and ethnic tolerance.

Literary particularism

Adding details to non-fiction, fiction, or song lyrics that give the work a sense of credibility and full dimension. Forebears to this genre include Anne Lamott and the 19th Century's Victor Hugo; songwriters include Phil Vassar and Dierks Bentley. Term used for literature coined by writer Howard Freeman.


External links

* [ Multiculturalism: "E Pluribus Plures"] - Diane Ravitch
* [ Mead on Manhattan] - Howard Freeman

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Particularism — Par*tic u*lar*ism, n. [Cf. F. particularisme.] 1. A minute description; a detailed statement. [R.] [1913 Webster] 2. (Theol.) The doctrine of particular election. [1913 Webster] 3. (German Politics) Devotion to the interests of one s own kingdom… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • particularism — [pär tik′yə ləriz΄əm] n. 1. undivided adherence or devotion to one particular party, system, interest, theory, etc. 2. the policy of allowing each member or state in a federation to govern independently without regard to the interests of the… …   English World dictionary

  • particularism — particularist, n. particularistic, adj. particularistically, adv. /peuhr tik yeuh leuh riz euhm, peuh tik /, n. 1. exclusive attention or devotion to one s own particular interests, party, etc. 2. the principle of leaving each state of a… …   Universalium

  • particularism — PARTICULARÍSM1 s.n. Concepţie ideologică şi politică conform căreia se pretinde autonomia unei provincii, a unei părţi dintr un stat. – Din fr. particularisme. Trimis de valeriu, 03.02.2004. Sursa: DEX 98  PARTICULARÍSM2 s.n. (Rar) Caracter… …   Dicționar Român

  • Particularism — in the study of knowledge, particularism refers to the approach where one asks the question What do we know? before asking How do we know? The term appears in Roderick Chisholm s The Problem of the Criterion , and in the work of his student,… …   Mini philosophy glossary

  • particularism — noun Date: 1824 1. exclusive or special devotion to a particular interest 2. a political theory that each political group has a right to promote its own interests and especially independence without regard to the interests of larger groups 3. a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • particularism — noun a) An excessive focus on a particular group b) The principle that each part of a federation etc. may act independently of a central authority …   Wiktionary

  • Particularism — A particular thing. In philosophy, particulars are concrete entities existing in space and time as opposed to abstractions. There are, however, theories of abstract particulars or tropes. For example, Socrates is a particular (there s only one… …   Mini philosophy glossary

  • particularism — noun 1》 exclusive attachment to one s own group, nation, etc. 2》 the principle of leaving each state in an empire or federation free to govern itself and promote its own interests. 3》 Theology the doctrine that some but not all people are elected …   English new terms dictionary

  • particularism — n partisanship; denominationalism, cultism; nationalism …   A Note on the Style of the synonym finder

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