Neutrality and the religion analogy

Andrew M M Koppelman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


Neutralitarian liberalism, which holds that the state should be neutral toward controversial conceptions of the good, is often defended as a generalization from religious liberty-a more abstract statement of the principle that supports the tradition of religious freedom. The analogy misapprehends the core case upon which it is based. The American tradition of freedom of religion itself rests on a controversial conception of the good: the idea that religion is valuable and that legal rules should be crafted for the purpose of protecting that value. Disestablishment entails a kind of neutrality toward certain contested conceptions of the good. This, however, is not neutralitarian liberalism and in fact is inconsistent with it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationReligious Exemptions
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780190666187
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • John locke
  • Liberal neutrality
  • Liberalism
  • Religion
  • Religious liberty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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