This book considers the important question whether a good moral case can be made, on deontological or consequentialist grounds, for the privileging of religious over nonreligious claims of conscience in any scheme of principled toleration in a liberal state. Leiter's conclusion, of significant moment both legally and culturally if true, is that the “selective application [of toleration] to the conscience of only religious believers is not morally defensible” (133). The book is short, an enjoyable read, accessible to the generally educated public but alive to a number of sophisticated philosophical ideas and distinctions, its prose crisp and straightforward, its attitude no-nonsense, its conclusion provocative, and its arguments clear, concise, and analytically rigorous.

Before summarizing the book's main arguments, I should note that it may at first appear slightly odd that Leiter is not in a position to accept his own conclusion. For he is...

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