Environmentalism, fairness, and public reasons

Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 11 (2):177-192 (2008)
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This paper examines the recent ?deliberative turn? in environmental political thought with particular regard to demands concerning the employment of public reason in democratic deliberation. Working from John Rawls? account of the three essential elements of deliberative democracy, the paper assesses the scope for bringing environmental claims within the remit of public reason, and revisits the ?unfairness to novel reasons? objection against public reason, as articulated by Jeremy Waldron and then criticised by Lawrence Solum. I argue for a contextual view of political justification. The unfairness objection is found to hold in an attenuated form, and disbarring non?public reasons from decisiveness in political justification, even on a wide view of public political culture, imposes an arbitrary unfairness on those, such as environmental activists, seeking to challenge widely shared, but possibly misguided, beliefs



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References found in this work

Political Liberalism.John Rawls - 1993 - Columbia University Press.
Political Liberalism.J. Rawls - 1995 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 57 (3):596-598.
Why Deliberative Democracy?Amy Gutmann & Dennis F. Thompson - 2004 - Princeton University Press.
Collected papers.John Rawls - 1999 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. Edited by Samuel Richard Freeman.

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