Liberalism, Religion And Integrity

Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (1):149-165 (2012)
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It is a commonplace that liberalism and religious belief conflict. Liberalism, its proponents and critics maintain, requires the privatization of religious belief, since liberals often argue that citizens of faith must repress their fundamental commitments when participating in public life. Critics of liberalism complain that privatization is objectionable because it requires citizens of faith to violate their integrity. The liberal political tradition has always sought to carve out social space for individuals to live by their own lights. If liberalism requires citizens to violate their integrity, liberals have cause for concern. I seek to rebut this integrity objection to liberalism. I focus on the dominant form of philosophical liberalism: public reason liberalism. I argue that the integrity objection undermines the mainstream conception of public reason liberalism, but not public reason liberalism itself. The paper opens by outlining the structure of public reason liberalism and the integrity objection (§§2 and 3). It then analyses two versions of the objection and argues that the second version is successful against the mainstream conception of public reason (§4). I argue in response that public reason liberalism need not endorse principles of restraint—the civic restrictions on religious expression typically associated with it. I then sketch a conception of public reason liberalism that eschews principles of restraint (§5). This alternative promises to reconcile public reason liberals and their faith-friendly critics by putting the integrity objection to rest.



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Kevin Vallier
Bowling Green State University

Citations of this work

Public justification.Kevin Vallier - forthcoming - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Public justification.Fred D'Agostino - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
The metaphysics of morals.Immanuel Kant - 1797/1996 - New York: Cambridge University Press. Edited by Mary J. Gregor.
Liberalism and the Limits of Justice.Michael Sandel - 1982 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

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