Liberalism, neutrality, and democracy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The principle of state neutrality has figured prominently in recent philosophical debate over the character of liberalism as a political theory. The principle holds that the state should be neutral among different conceptions of the good life and/or comprehensive doctrines that are held by members in the society to which it applies. Two questions about state neutrality are related, but can be distinguished. The first question concerns its interpretation. In what way, or in what respect, should the state be neutral? The second question concerns the grounding or support for the principle. What considerations, if any, speak in its favor? In this chapter I will be concerned mainly with the second of these questions. I will assume that an adequate interpretation of the principle of state neutrality is available, one that holds that the political institutions and the political decisions of a society should be justified in a way that does not presuppose the truth or correctness of any conception of the good or comprehensive doctrine that is controversial among its members. I want to discuss the prospects for grounding the principle of state neutrality, so understood, on the distinctively democratic value of political autonomy. This will require me to characterize this value, to explain its democratic credentials, to show how it can support state neutrality, and to discuss its normative status and force.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Companion to Liberalism
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages163-186
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9781139942478, 9781107080072
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

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Liberalism
Neutrality
Democracy
Comprehensive Doctrines
Grounding
Conception
Good Life
Correctness
Autonomy
Political Institutions
Political Theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

Cite this

Wall, S. P. (2015). Liberalism, neutrality, and democracy. In The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism (pp. 163-186). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139942478.010

Liberalism, neutrality, and democracy. / Wall, Steven P.

The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism. Cambridge University Press, 2015. p. 163-186.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Wall, SP 2015, Liberalism, neutrality, and democracy. in The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism. Cambridge University Press, pp. 163-186. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139942478.010
Wall SP. Liberalism, neutrality, and democracy. In The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism. Cambridge University Press. 2015. p. 163-186 https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139942478.010
Wall, Steven P. / Liberalism, neutrality, and democracy. The Cambridge Companion to Liberalism. Cambridge University Press, 2015. pp. 163-186
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