Political Liberalism, Separation and Establishment

  • Cécile Laborde


Political liberalism holds the promise of responding to what Rawls calls “the fact of pluralism” (Rawls 1996: xxv). It seeks to ground the legitimacy of the liberal state on its ability to justify its use of coercive power to all (reasonable) citizens under conditions of moral and religious pluralism.* The question of the proper place of religion in the liberal state has gained increasing prominence in Rawlsian political philosophy. In A Theory of Justice, Rawls (1972: 206) posited that religious liberty was the most basic of the basic liberties and, in Political Liberalism (1996), he set out to show that sincere religious belief was not incompatible with principled commitment to the liberal state.


Public Place Public Reason Political Liberalism Liberal State Religious Freedom 
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© Cécile Laborde 2016

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  • Cécile Laborde

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