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Responding to Disagreement in Liberal Societies: Legitimacy, Respect, Toleration

Fornaroli, Giulio; (2019) Responding to Disagreement in Liberal Societies: Legitimacy, Respect, Toleration. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Consider the nature of disagreement about the legal permissibility of abortion within a democratic society. For the purposes of this thesis, it has two important features: it is a disagreement about matters of value, and it takes place among people who, because it is a democratic state, are all entitled to have a say (in some form) on the matter. This means some participants in the debate will have normative requirements imposed on them to which they have reasons to object. What is the correct moral response to this fact as a matter of political philosophy? One of the most influential currents in contemporary political philosophy, political liberalism, holds that disagreements of this kind can be addressed success-fully within a single polity if the state is legitimate, i.e., if it is capable of providing a set of public reasons justifying its authority. Because the reasons are public and accessible to people holding a plurality of different but reasonable conceptions of value, reasonable citizens holding these conceptions will face normative requirements that they will believe are acceptable. Chapters 1-3 of this thesis show this optimistic expectation about what citizen’s reasonableness entails for legitimacy and disagreement are ill-founded. I restore some optimism in the second half of the dissertation by arguing that there are key values we can appeal to in plausibly responding to the existence of value-disagreement. These include the central liberal notions of equal respect and toleration, theories of which I set out in Chapters 4 and 5 respectively. I elaborate a conception of each concept based on the insight that they are fundamental attitudes citizens need to develop in order for a just society to exist and remain stable. I conclude, in Chapter 6, by showing that this insight can help us design good policies in responding to the fact of value-disagreement when dealing with how we should accommodate conscientious reasons for rejecting a state requirement.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Responding to Disagreement in Liberal Societies: Legitimacy, Respect, Toleration
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2019. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10085271
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