Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

What are Offences to Feelings Really About? A New Regulative Principle for the Multicultural Era

Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 695-723, 2010

29 Pages Posted: 3 Jul 2011  

Meital Pinto

Carmel Academic Center - Law School

Date Written: September 23, 2010

Abstract

In recent multicultural conflicts, such as the Danish Muhammad cartoons affair and the religious controversy about having a gay pride parade in the holy city of Jerusalem, religious minority members have argued that certain acts should be prohibited because they offend their religious and cultural feelings. According to the orthodox view in current liberal thought, however, there should be no legal protection from mere insult to feelings and sensibilities, as related to sacred religious and cultural values as they may be. In this paper I challenge this view. I argue that certain offensive acts ought to be legally regulated and propose a normative principle for their regulation, which is consistent with neutral liberalism.

I argue that some claims of offence to feelings boil down to a struggle for equality in the public sphere between competing cultural identities. I conceptualize such claims as claims that purport to protect people’s right in the integrity of their cultural identity. I suggest the vulnerable cultural identity principle, according to which the more vulnerable the social and civic status of one’s cultural identity is, the stronger her claim is from integrity of cultural identity. I argue that this principle avoids the problems of legal moralism and the subjectivity in evaluating painful feelings.

Keywords: offence to feelings, multiculturalism, Muhammad cartoons, cultural identity, toleration

Suggested Citation

Pinto, Meital, What are Offences to Feelings Really About? A New Regulative Principle for the Multicultural Era (September 23, 2010). Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 695-723, 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1877207

Meital Pinto (Contact Author)

Carmel Academic Center - Law School ( email )

Haifa
Israel

Paper statistics

Downloads
61
Rank
302,984
Abstract Views
498