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Liberalism and Prostitution$
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Peter de Marneffe

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195383249

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383249.001.0001

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Government Neutrality and Perfectionism

Government Neutrality and Perfectionism

Chapter:
(p.133) 5 Government Neutrality and Perfectionism
Source:
Liberalism and Prostitution
Author(s):

Peter de Marneffe

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195383249.003.0006

Some have argued that liberalism is committed to the principle that the government should remain as neutral as possible toward conceptions of the good life. Some paternalistic prostitution laws, however, are consistent with what is right in this principle. This position is defended by reference to T. M. Scanlon's contractualist theory of morality, and also by reference to Ronald Dworkin's early work on rights. Although some might characterize as “perfectionist” the paternalistic argument for prostitution laws stated in chapter 1, the kind of perfectionism that this argument involves is morally unobjectionable and is consistent with what is right in the idea of government neutrality.

Keywords:   government neutrality, perfectionism, T. M. Scanlon, contractualism, Ronald Dworkin

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