Political morality and neutrality

  • Michal Sládeček
Keywords: political morality, neutrality, ethics, capacity for action, respect


The article gives the reasons why a distinction between political morality and ethical conceptions needs to be drawn, as well as the reasons for which political liberalism is a substantial moral conception, and as such in tension with certain understandings of the neutrality. Further, the text analyzes the definition of personality through capacity for action (above all ethical). Recognition of this capacity is necessary, but not sufficient to attribute to a person a special status from the standpoint of political morality, since individuals also must be capable to coordinate their ethical actions with moral principles of others. Further, the text critiques Charles Larmore’s moral grounding of the theory of justice on respect of persons by arguing that the concept of respect should be considered as part of the complex interrelationships with other moral concepts, such as equality. In this way, neutrality regarding content of respect, as well as neutrality regarding capacity for ethical action turns out to be insufficient.


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