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Title: Neutrality in political decision making
Author: Zellentin, Alexa Birgit
ISNI:       0000 0001 1154 591X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2009
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Liberal neutrality – as understood in current legal and political debates – has two underlying intuitions and therefore two distinct elements. On the one hand it refers to the intuition that there are matters the state has no business getting involved in (hands-off element). On the other hand it is motivated by the idea that the state ought to treat citizens as equals and show equal respect and for their different conceptions of the good life (equality element). This thesis defends this two-fold understanding of neutrality with reference to Rawls’ conception of society as a fair system of cooperation and the idea of citizens as free and equal persons. In particular, the idea that citizens are to be treated as free justifies the hands-off element and argues that the state must be involved in nothing but justice. In the context of political decision making this requires the state to be justificatorily neutral. Treating citizens as equals requires the state to grant its citizens equal political rights and also to ensure that these rights have “fair value.” Given the danger that cultural bias undermines the equal standing of citizens the state has to ensure procedures of political decision making that are able to take citizens’ different conceptions into account. Treating citizens as free and equal therefore requires that the state bans all considerations of the good from being part of the justification of state action while at the same time taking these considerations into account when deliberating the way how these regulations are to be implemented.
Supervisor: McDermott, Daniel Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Political Philosophy ; neutrality ; Liberalism ; Rawls ; Dworkin ; multiculturalism