This article introduces the major debates of the liberal neutrality literature in contemporary liberal political theory and critically evaluates the major claims of this literature. The article has the following main theses: First, the article contends that liberal theorists have failed to offer convincing arguments to justify why states should be neutral in the first place. Second, the article argues that liberal theorists make important exceptions in their neutrality theories and that these exceptions cast doubt on the validity of their theories. Third, the article draws attention to the problems that arise when a liberal state claims neutrality in articulating its aims and justifying its laws. Fourth, the article discusses whether a concept like “degrees of neutrality” would be a meaningful tool for comparing different states, and points out the problems of using such a terminology. Finally, the article contends that liberalism cannot legitimize its existence by referring to the concept of neutrality in a world characterized by value pluralism, and that liberalism will inevitably remain a sectarian doctrine. In general, the article draws attention to the exclusions and limitations of liberal states in dealing with diversity. 

Ömer Taşgetiren

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