In ""Political Correctness": For and Against", two prominent philosophers engage each other in a forthright debate over some of the centrally disputed topics in the controversy now being waged on college campuses across the nation. In her lead essay supporting "political correctness", Marilyn Friedman challenges the critical response to hate speech codes, disputes the supposed preeminence of the Western canon, and champions "thick multiculturalism" over a "thin global diversity" approach. She also argues that a "politically correct" perspective need not abandon the concept of truth even while recognising its political vulnerabilities, and she defends feminism and feminists against widespread distortion and caricature. Jan Narveson, in his lead essay criticising "political correctness", argues that the kind of equality of person envisaged in "old-fashioned" or "classical" liberalism is the genuine article.
Despite good intentions, he argues, "politically correct" policies will increase the amount of arbitrary power wielded over us all by an essentially unthinking state, and this will be worse for everyone - including the allegedly oppressed person in whose interests these programmes are advocated. Friedman and Narveson conclude the volume with direct replies to each other's positions.
The considerable appeal of this immensely provocative book lies in the serious (and respectful) attempt that each philosopher makes to grapple with the other's views and in the detailed and lucid arguments with which each page is replete.--Nelson P. Lande, University of Massachusetts