2005 Vincent Lemieux Prize
Winner: Steven Lecce (University of Western Ontario)
Liberal Equality: A Contractual Defence
Excerpt from jury report: Lecce’s thesis attempts to rescue liberal pluralism, and thereby liberal democracy, from “perfectionists” who would privilege certain interests and values over others. The thesis is admirable for its lucid writing, thorough and careful analysis, and original contribution to the continuing debate over liberalism. It also offers an excellent overview of the history of liberal thought, by examining three seminal debates: Locke vs. Proast, Mill vs. Stephen, and Hart vs. Devlin. The argument in favour of ethical neutrality in the public sphere is particularly thought-provoking for Canadians, who live in an unusually diverse yet peaceful society.