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http://ssrn.com/abstract=2268238
 
 

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Conscience, Volitional Necessity, and Religious Exemptions


Andrew Koppelman


Northwestern University School of Law

December 8, 2009

Legal Theory, Vol. 15, No. 3, 2009
Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 13-16
Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 13-18

Abstract:     
Why do we ever grant religious exemptions? Many distinguished scholars and judges have been drawn to the idea that it is conscience that is entitled to special protection, because a person in its grip cannot obey the law without betraying his deepest, most identity-defining commitments. The weakness of this justification is shown by examining philosopher Harry Frankfurt’s account of what he calls “volitional necessity,” which clarifies the structure of the argument that invocations of conscience imply. Frankfurt shows that a person can be bound in this way by allegiances that are not moral: volitional necessity can arise from anything at all that a person cares about. Conscience is thus a poor basis for claims upon other people. Accommodation must rather depend on some idea of the value of religion

Number of Pages in PDF File: 31

Keywords: Constitutional Law, Religion Law

JEL Classification: K10, K19, K30, K39

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Date posted: May 23, 2013  

Suggested Citation

Koppelman, Andrew, Conscience, Volitional Necessity, and Religious Exemptions (December 8, 2009). Legal Theory, Vol. 15, No. 3, 2009; Northwestern Public Law Research Paper No. 13-16; Northwestern Law & Econ Research Paper No. 13-18. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2268238

Contact Information

Andrew M. Koppelman (Contact Author)
Northwestern University School of Law ( email )
375 E. Chicago Ave
Unit 1505
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-503-8431 (Phone)
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