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Understanding Liberal DemocracyEssays in Political Philosophy$
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Nicholas Wolterstorff and Terence Cuneo

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199558957

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199558957.001.0001

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The Paradoxical Role of Coercion in the Theory of Political Liberalism

The Paradoxical Role of Coercion in the Theory of Political Liberalism

(p.11) 1 The Paradoxical Role of Coercion in the Theory of Political Liberalism
Understanding Liberal Democracy

Nicholas Wolterstorff

Terence Cuneo

Oxford University Press

What is the proper role, in a liberal democracy, of religious reasons for and against proposed laws or abolition of laws? The various positions taken on the issue have come to be classified as “exclusivist” or “inclusivist.” This chapter identifies and critiques what may be the deepest component in the line of thought of those who espouse the exclusivist position. Instead of focusing on respect, this line of thought focuses on coercion. It tells us that a condition of a citizen’s properly supporting a piece of coercive legislation is not only that he or she (entitledly) believe the coercion justified, but also that, he or she must offer or make available, to those one believes do not already have them, reasons that they do or would regard as justifying the coercive legislation.

Keywords:   Audi, Robert, coercive law, exclusivism, inclusivism, Larmore, Charles, Rawls, John, reasonable

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