Under the circumstances of pluralism people often claim that the state ought to be neutral towards its citizens’ conceptions of the good life. However, what it means for the state to be neutral is often unclear. This is partly because there are different conceptions of neutrality and partly because what neutrality entails depends largely on the context in which neutrality is demanded. This paper discusses three different conceptions of neutrality – neutrality of impact, neutrality as equality of opportunity and justificatory neutrality – and analyses the strengths and weaknesses of the different conceptions in different contexts. It suggests that there are two common elements of neutrality in all its exemplifications: a) an element of “hands-off” and b) an element of equal treatment. It therefore argues that while justificatory neutrality is necessary for the state to be neutral it is not sufficient and claims that while conceptions of the good must not enter the justification of state regulations, they must be taken into consideration when delib- erating the implementation of these regulations.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
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

Equality and Priority.Derek Parfit - 1997 - Ratio 10 (3):202–221.
Fairness to Goodness.John Rawls - 1975 - Philosophical Review 84 (4):536-554.
Liberalism.Dworkin Ronald - 1978 - In Stuart Hampshire (ed.), Public and Private Morality. Cambridge University Press.
Is There a Right to Pornography?†.Ronald Dworkin - 1981 - Oxford Journal of Legal Studies 1 (2):177-212.

View all 7 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles


Added to PP index

Total views
229 ( #40,211 of 2,425,454 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
15 ( #48,398 of 2,425,454 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes