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Inclusivity and the constitution of the family

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This paper starts by discussing Alan Brudner's overall project: the project of inclusivity. It argues that the idea of inclusivity is problematic both conceptually and normatively, for three reasons. First, it is not clear that Brudner's aim to provide a unified theory of the liberal constitution is either possible or desirable. Second, Brudner assumes but does not adequately demonstrate the need for public justification of the liberal constitution. Third, Brudner does not sufficiently explain who should have a veto over his final theory. The paper then turns to Brudner's analysis of sex and family, and argues that his position on these matters is one that liberals would reject. In the case of marriage, Brudner's conclusions may be compatible with liberalism but the arguments supporting them are not. In the case of abortion, neither argument nor policy is compatible with liberalism. Either his position requires that we attribute differential status to human persons, in direct contravention of the fundamental equality of moral worth that liberalism accords to all individuals. Or it requires that we override the rights of individuals by asserting that their own self-authorship is less important to them than a symbol of their personal relationship, a judgment that profoundly undermines individual autonomy.

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