Are Liberal Perfectionism and Neutrality Mutually Exclusive?

ELDAR SARAJLIC
CANADIAN JOURNAL OF PHILOSOPHY (2015). ADVANCED ONLINE PUBLICATION 

Abstract: In this paper, I question the view that liberal perfectionism and neutrality are mutually exclusive doctrines. I do so by criticizing two claims made by Jonathan Quong. First, I object to his claim that comprehensive anti-perfectionism is incoherent. Second, I criticize his claim that liberal perfectionism cannot avoid a paternalist stance. I argue that Quong’s substantive assumptions about personal autonomy undermine both of his arguments. I use the discussion of Quong to argue that the standard assumption in liberal theory about mutual exclusivity of liberal perfectionism and neutrality needs to be reconsidered, and I show why the argument about the convergence of perfectionism and neutrality makes conceptual sense.