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

See all articles by Rafael Domingo

Rafael Domingo

Emory University School of Law; University of Navarra - School of Law

Date Written: November 29, 2012

Abstract

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

Domingo Osle, Rafael, Religion for Hedgehogs? An Argument against the Dworkinian Approach to Religious Freedom (November 29, 2012). Oxford Journal of Law and Religion 1.3 (2012), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2209539

Rafael Domingo Osle (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

HOME PAGE: http://law.emory.edu/

University of Navarra - School of Law ( email )

Universidad de Navarra
Campus Universitario
Pamplona, Navarra 31009
Spain

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