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Religion in Liberal Political Philosophy$
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Cécile Laborde and Aurélia Bardon

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198794394

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198794394.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 March 2021

On the Scope and Object of Neutrality

On the Scope and Object of Neutrality

Policies, Principles, and ‘Burdens of Conscience’

(p.147) 10 On the Scope and Object of Neutrality
Religion in Liberal Political Philosophy

Saladin Meckled-Garcia

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a distinct account of neutrality in which the acceptability or justice of policies or public actions can only be established ‘holistically’, requiring an all-things-considered assessment in which the neutrality of those policies is never by itself definitive. Instead, neutrality is a definitive constraint only on the justification of principles/theories of justice. The chapter sets out a proper understanding of the value behind neutrality, defending this value from autonomy-based objections to neutrality. It then uses that account to show how the value engages with policies and public actions. The chapter also responds critically to views that see neutrality as a standard to be established separately to theories of justice. Finally, it argues that the value of neutrality with its proper scope and object in place can explain how to address cases of claimed exemption on the basis of burdens of conscience by people with ‘deeply’ held convictions.

Keywords:   neutrality, justification, principles of justice, burdens of conscience, theories of justice

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