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Croatian Journal of Philosophy

Volume 14, Issue 1, 2014

Matt Sleat
Pages 73-90

A Defence of the Radical Version of the Asymmetry Objection to Political Liberalism

This article seeks to make two significant contributions to the debate surrounding the asymmetry objection to political liberalism. The first is to distinguish between and explicate moderate and radical versions of the asymmetry objection as two discrete forms that this criticism can take. The second contribution is to defend the radical version of the asymmetry objection as a serious challenge to political liberalism. It does this by arguing that the commitment to reciprocity that underpins the principle of legitimacy can be the subject of reasonable disagreement, which therefore undermines the asymmetry central to political liberalism between the legitimacy of being able to coerce compliance with principles of right but not principles of the good on the grounds that the latter can be the subject of reasonable disagreement whereas the former cannot.

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