1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Pluralism

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PLURALISM (Lat. plus, plures, many, several), a term used generally in the sense of plurality (see below), and in philosophy for any theory which postulates more than one absolutely distinct being or principle of being, opposed to monism. Pluralistic systems are based on the difficulty of reconciling with the monistic principle the principles of variety and freewill. The chief difficulty which besets any such view is that if the elements are absolutely independent, the cosmos disappears and we are left with chaos; if, on the other hand, there is interrelation (as in Lotze's system), the elements are not ultimate in any intelligible sense.