Journal of Applied Philosophy 32 (2):133-146 (2015)

Authors
Zofia Stemplowska
University of Warwick
Abstract
Political liberalism offers perhaps the most developed and dominant account of justice and legitimacy in the face of disagreement among citizens. A prominent objection states that the view arbitrarily treats differently disagreement about the good, such as on what makes for a good life, and disagreement about justice. In the presence of reasonable disagreement about the good, political liberals argue that the state must be neutral, but they do not suggest a similar response given reasonable disagreement about what justice requires. A leading political liberal, Jonathan Quong, has recently offered a rebuttal to this asymmetry objection. His reply rests on an innovative distinction between justificatory and foundational disagreement. Quong claims that disagreements about justice in a well ordered society are justificatory while disagreements about the good are foundational, and suggests that this fact blocks the asymmetry objection. We assess Quong's solution and argue that it fails to justify legitimate state action on matters of justice but not the good. We conclude that the asymmetry objection continues to undermine political liberalism
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DOI 10.1111/japp.12090
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