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Exemptions without Justice? Liberal jurisprudence on religious exemptions and its political justification

Leontiev, Kim Igorevich; (2022) Exemptions without Justice? Liberal jurisprudence on religious exemptions and its political justification. Masters thesis (M.Phil.Stud), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Religious exemptions to general, neutral laws of uniform application abound in modern liberal states. No other category of identity or interest receives comparable exemptions-coverage or related differential legal treatment such as constitutional constraints (e.g. disestablishment) and/or accommodations (e.g. concessional taxation regimes). This differential or “special” treatment of religion in liberal jurisprudence and state-practice has, more recently, come under increased theoretical scrutiny. A prominent criticism levelled is that there is no distinctive and normatively relevant feature of religion which justifies this differentiation vis-à-vis close non-religious analogues such as certain “deeply-held” commitments of secular morality or individual conscience. Whether religion is indeed uniquely special or just within some broader category of protection-worthy interests, the underlying question here is: to whom and in respect of what should exemptions be granted? Yet, this question already presupposes that the contested exemptions are justifiable. Exemptions to protect core liberal freedoms from directly discriminatory or targeted interference might be axiomatic, but exemptions to counteract indirect or incidental burdens on some (minority) groups by otherwise legitimate neutral laws are far from normatively straightforward. The relevance of such exemptions to liberal justice, even their coherence has been forcefully challenged. After examining the arguably intractable nature of these puzzles, this dissertation considers the possibility of a lateral solution by recasting the issues in terms of liberal political legitimacy.

Type: Thesis (Masters)
Qualification: M.Phil.Stud
Title: Exemptions without Justice? Liberal jurisprudence on religious exemptions and its political justification
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2022. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/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 > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > European and Intl Social and Political Studs
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10147508
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