Download Beyond Neutrality: Perfectionism and Politics by George Sher PDF

By George Sher

Many folks, together with many modern philosophers, think that the nation has no company attempting to enhance people's characters, or increase their tastes, or hinder them from dwelling degraded lives. they suspect that governments should still stay completely impartial in terms of the honor of competing conceptions of the nice. One basic objective of George Sher's publication is to teach that this view is indefensible. A moment complementary objective is to articulate a notion of the great that's necessary of promoting by means of the nation.

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19. Thomas Nagel, "Moral Conflict and Political Legitimacy/7 Philosophy and Public Affairs 16, 3 (Summer 1987), p. 233. 20. Waldron, "Legislation and Moral Neutrality/7 p. 67. 32 The principle of neutrality Given this array of possibilities, at which level(s) should we take neutralism to apply? One obvious option is to take it to apply at all of them. In defense of this maximally inclusive reading, one might argue that neutralism becomes more interesting as it becomes more ambitious. One might argue, as well, that at least some selective readings appear arbitrary and unmotivated.

Waldron, "Legislation and Moral Neutrality/' p. 67 (emphasis in original). 27 Beyond neutrality III But other problems remain. Precisely because neutralism is best understood as a constraint on practical political decisions, we need to know more about both the decisions it constrains and the constraints it imposes on them. To be a bit more specific, we need to answer (at least) the following questions: 1. To which sorts of agents does the proposed practical principle apply? Does it apply only to governments, or also (or instead) to individuals?

In defense of this maximally inclusive reading, one might argue that neutralism becomes more interesting as it becomes more ambitious. One might argue, as well, that at least some selective readings appear arbitrary and unmotivated. For example, it seems anomalous to say that legislators are forbidden to act on their conceptions of the good, but that unelected civil servants - whose charge, after all, is to implement the legislature's will - may indeed act on theirs. Still, despite these advantages, the maximally inclusive reading is hardly forced upon us.

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