What is Neutrality?
20 Pages Posted: 28 Nov 2014
Date Written: December 2014
This paper reinvestigates the question of liberal neutrality. We contend that current liberal discussions have been dominated — if not hijacked — by one particular interpretation of what neutrality could imply: namely, exclusive neutrality, aiming to exclude religious and cultural expressions from the public sphere. We will argue that this is merely one among several relevant interpretations. To substantiate our claim, we will first elaborate upon inclusive neutrality by formulating two supplementary interpretations: proportional neutrality and compensatory neutrality. Second, we will argue that inclusive proportional neutrality is the most appropriate interpretation in many contexts. Our discussion highlights the fact that some political disputes should not be seen in terms of the antithesis between liberal neutrality and illiberal alternatives but, instead, as a clash between various valid but incompatible interpretations of what liberal neutrality may imply.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation