Res Publica 23 (3):329-347 (2017)

One of the most distinctive and startling claims of Rawlsian political liberalism is that truth has no place in public political deliberation on matters of basic justice. Joshua Cohen thinks there is a tension between Rawls’s exclusion of truth in public political deliberation and the importance accorded to truth in the conception of morally serious political deliberation held by most citizens. Cohen claims that this apparent tension can be resolved by constructing and introducing a suitably political, non-divisive and neutral, conception of truth which is capable of satisfying both the highly distinctive requirements of Rawlsian political liberalism and the importance accorded to truth by the conception of public deliberation held by most citizens. In this paper I argue that Cohen is unsuccessful in this attempt and that his political conception of truth cannot satisfy both political liberalism and a descriptively adequate specification of the importance accorded to truth by the familiar accounts of morally serious political deliberation upon which Cohen relies.
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DOI 10.1007/s11158-016-9333-2
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