Journal of Moral Philosophy 1 (3):293-309 (2004)

Authors
Elizabeth Brake
Rice University
Abstract
the issue of liberal neutrality, a topic suggested by the work of Catharine MacKinnon. I discuss two kinds of neutrality: neutrality at the level of justifying liberalism itself, and state neutrality in political decision-making. Both kinds are contentious within liberal theory. Rawls’s argument for justice as fairness has been criticized for non-neutrality at the justificatory level, a problem noted by Rawls himself in Political Liberalism . I will defend a qualified account of neutrality at the justificatory level, taking an epistemic approach to argue for the exclusion of certain doctrines from the justificatory process. I then argue that the justification process I describe offers a justificatory stance supportive of the feminist rejection of state-sponsored gender hierarchy. Further, I argue that liberal neutrality at the level of political decision-making will have surprising implications for gender equality. Once the extent of the state’s involvement in the apparently private spheres of family and civil society is recognized, and the disproportionate influence of a sexist conception of the good on those structures—and concomitant promotion of that ideal—is seen, state neutrality implies substantive change. While—as Susan Moller Okin avowed—Rawls himself may have remained ambiguous on how to address gender inequality, his theory implies that the state must seek to create substantive, not merely formal, equality. I suggest that those substantive changes will not conflict with liberal neutrality but instead be required by it.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1177/174046810400100305
Options
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: 53,514
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Ethics of Belief.William Clifford - 1879 - In Brian Davies (ed.), Philosophy of Religion: A Guide and Anthology. Oxford University Press.
Non-Contractual Society: A Feminist View.Virginia Held - 1987 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 17 (sup1):111-137.
Rawls's Problem of Stability.Michael Huemer - 1996 - Social Theory and Practice 22 (3):375-395.

View all 8 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Liberal Feminism.Amy Baehr - 2013 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. pp. 150-166.
Liberal Neutrality and Gender Justice.Emily McGill-Rutherford - 2017 - Social Philosophy Today 33:91-111.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Neutrality, Liberal Nation Building and Minority Cultural Rights.Zhidas Daskalovski - 2002 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 5 (3):27-50.
The Impossibility of Political Neutrality.Noriaki Iwasa - 2010 - Croatian Journal of Philosophy 10 (2):147-155.
Liberal Neutrality or Liberal Tolerance?Colin M. Macleod - 1997 - Law and Philosophy 16 (5):529 - 559.
Neutrality, Choice, and Contexts of Oppression.Lisa H. Schwartzman - 2005 - Social Philosophy Today 21:193-206.
Privilege or Recognition? The Myth of State Neutrality.Tim Nieguth - 1999 - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 2 (2):112-131.
Why Liberal Neutralists Should Accept Educational Neutrality.Matt Sensat Waldren - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):71-83.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-01-28

Total views
573 ( #9,324 of 2,348,166 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #329,024 of 2,348,166 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes