Jurisprudence 11 (2):225-242 (2020)

Andrei Bespalov
University of Warwick
According to the standard liberal egalitarian approach, religious exemptions from generally applicable laws can be justified on the grounds of equal respect for each citizen’s conscience. I contend that claims of conscience cannot justify demands for exemptions, since they do not meet even the most inclusive standards of public justification. Arguments of the form ‘My conscience says so’ do not explicate the rationale behind the practices that the claimants seek to protect. Therefore, such arguments do not constitute even pro tanto reasons for exemptions. Rather, they are what Francis Bacon called idola fori – ‘idols of the marketplace’– conventional justifications that are deemed rational and even self- evident, while in fact they are not.
Keywords liberty of conscience  moral integrity  public justification  public reason  religious accommodation
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/20403313.2020.1728162
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,259
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Two Kinds of Respect.Stephen Darwall - 1977 - Ethics 88 (1):36-49.
Coercion and Public Justification.Colin Bird - 2013 - Politics, Philosophy and Economics (3):1470594-13496073.
The Moral Basis of Religious Exemptions.Kevin Vallier - 2016 - Law and Philosophy 35 (1):1-28.

View all 17 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Why Tolerate Conscience?François Boucher & Cécile Laborde - forthcoming - Criminal Law and Philosophy:1-21.
Accommodating Religion and Shifting Burdens.Peter Jones - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (3):515-536.
Why Tolerate Conscience?François Boucher & Cécile Laborde - 2016 - Criminal Law and Philosophy 10 (3):493-514.
Religious Exemptions: An Egalitarian Demand?Stuart G. White - 2012 - Law and Ethics of Human Rights 6 (1):97-118.
Religious Conscientious Exemptions.Yossi Nehushtan - 2011 - Law and Philosophy 30 (2):143-166.
The Moral Basis of Religious Exemptions.Kevin Vallier - 2016 - Law and Philosophy 35 (1):1-28.
Are the Judgments of Conscience Unreasonable?Edward Andrew & Peter Lindsay - 2008 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 11 (2):235-254.
Conscience-Based Exemptions for Medical Students.Mark R. Wicclair - 2010 - Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics 19 (1):38.


Added to PP index

Total views
26 ( #441,337 of 2,518,720 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #100,601 of 2,518,720 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes