David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophia 40 (2):179-193 (2012)
In recent years liberals have had much to say about the kinds of reasons that citizens should offer one another when they engage in public political debates about existing or proposed laws. One of the more notable claims that has been made by a number of prominent liberals is that citizens should not rely on religious reasons alone when persuading one another to support or oppose a given law or policy. Unsurprisingly, this claim is rejected by many religious citizens, including those who are also committed to liberalism. In this paper I revisit that debate and ask whether liberal citizens have a moral obligation not to explain their support for existing or proposed laws on the basis of religious reasons alone. I suggest that for most (ordinary) citizens no such obligation exists and that individuals are entitled to explain their support for a specific law and to persuade others of the merits of that law on the basis of religious reasons alone (though there may be sound prudential reasons for not doing so). My argument is grounded in the claim that in most instances advocating laws on the basis of religious reasons alone is consistent with treating citizens with equal respect. However, I acknowledge an exception to that claim is to be found when using religious reasons to justify a law also implies that the state endorses those reasons. For this reason I argue that there is a moral obligation for some (publicly influential) citizens, and especially those who hold public office, to refrain from explaining their support for existing or proposed laws on the basis of religious reasons. I conclude by suggesting that this understanding of the role of religion in public political discourse and the obligations of liberal citizens is a better reflection of our experience of liberal citizenship than that given in some well-known accounts of liberalism.
|Keywords||Justification Liberalism Public Reason Religion|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
John Rawls (1993). Political Liberalism. Columbia University Press.
Amy Gutmann (1996). Democracy and Disagreement. Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Jeffrey Stout (2005). Democracy and Tradition. Princeton University Press.
J. Rawls (1995). Political Liberalism. Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Gerald Gaus & Kevin Vallier (2009). The Roles of Religious Conviction in a Publicly Justified Polity: The Implications of Convergence, Asymmetry and Political Institutions. Philosophy and Social Criticism 35 (1-2):51-76.
John H. Chandler (2010). Religious Reasons and Public Policy. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 91 (2):137-152.
Zachary Hoskins (2009). ''On Highest Authority: Do Religious Reasons Have a Place in Public Policy Debates?''. Social Theory and Practice 35 (3):393-412.
Kyla Ebels-Duggan (2010). The Beginning of Community: Politics in the Face of Disagreement. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (238):50-71.
Kevin Vallier (2012). Liberalism, Religion And Integrity. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 90 (1):149 - 165.
Kevin Vallier (2011). Against Public Reason Liberalism's Accessibility Requirement. Journal of Moral Philosophy 8 (3):366-389.
Christopher J. Eberle & Rick Rubel (2012). Religious Conviction in the Profession of Arms. Journal of Military Ethics 11 (3):171-185.
Glen Pettigrove (2005). Rights, Reasons, and Religious Conflict. Social Philosophy Today 21:81-93.
Richard M. Buck (2001). Sincerity and Reconciliation in Public Reason. Social Philosophy Today 17:21-35.
Kevin Vallier (2013). Can Liberal Perfectionism Justify Religious Toleration? Wall on Promoting and Respecting. Philosophical Studies 162 (3):645-664.
Corey Brettschneider (2010). A Transformative Theory of Religious Freedom. Political Theory 38 (2):187-213.
Christie Hartley & Lori Watson (2009). Feminism, Religion, and Shared Reasons: A Defense of Exclusive Public Reason. Law and Philosophy 28 (5):493 - 536.
Mathias Thaler (2009). From Public Reason to Reasonable Accommodation: Negotiating the Place of Religion in the Public Sphere. Diacrítica. Revista Do Centro de Estudos Humanísticos da Universidade de Minho 23 (2):249-270.
Added to index2011-12-27
Total downloads21 ( #137,372 of 1,726,249 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #231,316 of 1,726,249 )
How can I increase my downloads?