Religious Conviction, Respect, and the Doctrine of Restraint in the Exclusionist-Inclusionist Debate
The principle of respect for other persons is commonly invoked in contemporary liberalism as justification for the claim that a conscientious citizen in a liberal democracy is morally obligated to refrain from supporting a coercive law for which he lacks suitable public justification. This view has been challenged by Christopher Eberle in <italics>Religious Conviction in Liberal Politics</italics>, who argues that although a citizen has an obligation to pursue a convincing secular rationale for a coercive law, he does not have an obligation to withhold support for a law for which he lacks such a rationale.
In this dissertation I attempt to develop a basic analytical framework which can be used to formulate a suitable conception of respect for persons in the public square. Only with such an underlying conception of respect in hand is it possible to adjudicate the competing claims concerning what the principle of respect for persons should be deemed to require of citizens in advocating and supporting coercive laws.
The framework I propose views respect for persons as a complex and variegated concept. It separately considers four different forms or notions of respect, and takes the attitude of respect as foundational and prior to the other forms of respect. I conclude that any conception of respect will entail commitment to a broader ethical theory or set of ethical principles. Accordingly, in the final chapter, I suggest that Robert Audi's "value-based Kantian intuitionism," with its emphasis on respect and the dignity of persons as a grounding property, may constitute an auspicious ethical theory to which appeal may plausibly be made in completing a conception of respect.
Doctrine of restraint
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