Political Liberalism and Male Supremacy

Journal of Applied Philosophy 37 (5):873-880 (2020)
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In Equal Citizenship and Public Reason, Watson and Hartley dispute the claim that Rawls’s doctrine of political liberalism must tolerate gender hierarchy because it counts conservative and orthodox religions as reasonable comprehensive doctrines. I argue that their defense in fact contains two arguments, both of which fail. The first, which I call the “Deliberative Equality Argument”, fails because it does not establish conclusively that political liberalism’s demand for equal citizenship forbids social practices of domination, as the authors contend. The second, which I call the “Equal Liberties Argument”, fails because it supports a particular version of political liberalism and not the doctrine itself.

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Cynthia A. Stark
University of Utah


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