Monday, February 01, 2010

No Respect: Brian Leiter on Religion

Andrew Koppelman

In two recent papers, Brian Leiter argues that there is no good reason for law to single out religion for special treatment, and that religion is not an apt candidate for respect in the “thick” sense of being an object of favorable appraisal. Both arguments depend on a radically impoverished conception of what religion is and what it does. In a paper I’ve just posted on SSRN, I explain what Leiter leaves out, and offer an hypothesis about why. I also engage with some related reflections by Simon Blackburn and Timothy Macklem, both of whom influence, in different ways, Leiter’s analysis.

I will add here (for the benefit of those who aren’t going to look at the paper, where I also say this) that he has been spectacularly generous in reading multiple drafts and helping in the development of a paper that is very critical of his work.

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