The Ethics of Identity Politics

The term “identity politics” is used to characterize the political claims of individuals and groups in the fight against discrimination because of ethnicity, sex, gender and other identity markers. According to Mark Lilla (Columbia University), the focus on identity politics has changed the agenda of political liberalism in a problematic sense whereas right-wing politicians largely benefit from this controversy by exploiting the populist resentments against intellectual discourses on minority rights. Moral philosophy is seriously challenged by current debates on exclusion and inclusion. The course suggests an ethical examination of the arguments evoked by participants in the discussion and reconstructs philosophical sources of the understanding of personal and collective identities.