A framework for analyzing public reason theories

European Journal of Political Theory 21 (4) (2022)
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Abstract

Proponents of public reason views hold that the exercise of political power ought to be acceptable to all reasonable citizens. This article elucidates the common structure shared by all public reason views, first by identifying a set of questions that all such views must answer and, second, by showing that the answers to these questions stand in a particular relationship to each other. In particular, we show that what we call the ‘rationale question’ is fundamental. This fact, and the common structure more generally, are often overlooked or distorted within the literature. As a result, we argue, several prominent argumentative moves made by both critics and defenders of public reason are unsuccessful. Our overall conclusion is that discussions of public reason views would be more fruitful if they made consistent use of the common structure we identify.

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Author Profiles

Anthony Taylor
Université de Fribourg
Paul Billingham
Oxford University

Citations of this work

Public Reason.Jonathan Quong - 2013 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Civic Equality as a Democratic Basis for Public Reason.Henrik D. Kugelberg - forthcoming - Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.

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References found in this work

Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Perfectionist Liberalism and Political Liberalism.Martha C. Nussbaum - 2011 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 39 (1):3-45.
The Moral Basis of Political Liberalism.Charles Larmore - 1999 - Journal of Philosophy 96 (12):599.
The Disorder of Public Reason.David Enoch - 2013 - Ethics 124 (1):141-176.
Political Liberalism.Charles Larmore - 1990 - Political Theory 18 (3):339-360.

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