Volume 14, Issue 2, 2017
Cross-Cultural Semiotic Dialogue Between East and West
Incommensurability in Global Ethics, The Case of Islamic Aniconism and Freedom of Speech
Can all values be reduced to one or a few fundamental ones? Two values may neither exceed the other in importance nor be equal. In such situation, they cannot be reduced to each other or to a third value, and we can call such values as ”incommensurable”. Drawing on the concept of incommensurable values and what recently is called ”global ethics”, I will argue that if two values from two different cultures conflict, one must pay enough attention to the idea of ”incommensurability of values” in order to avoid a bias judgment of either. I will show how this is the case in the conflict between the Islamic ethics and the secular ethics, examining a specific case: Islamic prohibition on images of Mohammed and the liberalist reverence for freedom of speech.