Are liberal perfectionism and neutrality mutually exclusive?

Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):515-537 (2015)
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In this paper, I question the view that liberal perfectionism and neutrality are mutually exclusive doctrines. I do so by criticizing two claims made by Jonathan Quong. First, I object to his claim that comprehensive anti-perfectionism is incoherent. Second, I criticize his claim that liberal perfectionism cannot avoid a paternalist stance. I argue that Quong’s substantive assumptions about personal autonomy undermine both of his arguments. I use the discussion of Quong to argue that the standard assumption in liberal theory about mutual exclusivity of liberal perfectionism and neutrality needs to be reconsidered, and I show why the argument about the convergence of perfectionism and neutrality makes conceptual sense.



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Eldar Sarajlic
Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY)

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References found in this work

Freedom of the will and the concept of a person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Liberalism Without Perfection.Jonathan Quong - 2010 - Oxford University Press.
The Theory and Practice of Autonomy.Gerald Dworkin - 1988 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
The Morality of Freedom.Joseph Raz - 1986 - Philosophy 63 (243):119-122.

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