Is public reason innocuous?

Abstract
Rawls?s controversial idea of public reason is often criticized for being exclusionary and unfair. Yet it is possible to read the idea of public reason as being largely innocuous, especially if one attends to all the qualifications and specifications of the idea that Rawls articulated. This essay pursues such a reading, by systematically considering each element of qualification that Rawls built into the idea of public reason. Considered together and in terms of their cumulative effect, they make the innocuous reading possible. My aim is not, however, to try to defend Rawls?s idea of public reason by claiming that it is innocuous, but to help clarify the ambiguous nature of the idea through this reading
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    John Rawls (1993). Political Liberalism. Columbia University Press.
    John Rawls (1999). The Law of Peoples. Harvard University Press.
    John Rawls (1999). Collected Papers. Harvard University Press.

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