Religion for Hedgehogs? An Argument against the Dworkinian Approach to Religious Freedom
Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 1.3 (2012)
28 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2013
Date Written: November 29, 2012
According to Ronald Dworkin, the right to freedom of religion is a mere implication of a more general right of ethical independence in foundational matters. For Dworkin, just as a particular religion cannot be treated as special in politics, religion cannot be considered sui generis in the political arena. This article argues that the right of religious freedom should be regarded as sui generis. The epistemological and ethical theories that support a Dworkinian approach to religious freedom are reductive and misconceived. These theories close the door to transcendent meaning and revealed religion, to a conception of religion as a fact and a value. The Dworkinian paradigm does not sufficiently protect the principles of pluralism and self-determination that are at the heart of religious freedom. Finally, this article argues that, when properly understood, the right to religious freedom is based on ethical autonomy and the unity of the person rather than on Dworkin’s theories of ethical independence and the unity of value.
Keywords: freedom of religion, Dworkin, ethical independence, unity of value, transcendence
JEL Classification: K10
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation