Res Publica 10 (1):43-67 (2004)

Jonathan Quong
University of Southern California
This paper addresses the problem of disputed cultural practices within liberal, deliberative democracies, arguing against the currently dominant view, advocated by Susan Okin among others, that such problems represent a fundamental tension between two liberal values: gender equality and cultural autonomy. Such an approach, I argue, requires the state to render normative judgements about conceptions of the good life, something which is both arbitrary and unfair in societies characterised by reasonable pluralism. Disputed practices, I claim, are defined by the existence of reasonable disagreement over their legitimacy, which means they need to be resolved in a way that abstains from morally evaluating the religious or cultural doctrines of the group in question. The paper therefore articulates a cost-based approach to such problems. The cost-based approach focuses our conceptual attention on the sorts of publicly identifiable costs that any state decision will have on the various parties to a dispute. By restricting itself to public reasons, this method thereby avoids arbitrarily privileging certain conceptions of the good at the expense of others when determining the boundaries of reasonable pluralism.
Keywords group rights  minorities  multiculturalism  public reason  reasonable pluralism  Susan Moller Okin
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DOI 10.1023/B:RESP.0000018145.60327.e2
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References found in this work BETA

Are Identity Claims Bad for Deliberative Democracy?Jonathan Quong - 2002 - Contemporary Political Theory 1 (3):307-327.

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Cultural Exemptions, Expensive Tastes, and Equal Opportunities.Jonathan Quong - 2006 - Journal of Applied Philosophy 23 (1):53–71.

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