Rawls' Idea of Public Reason and Democratic Legitimacy

Critics and defenders of Rawls' idea of public reason have tended to neglect the relationship between this idea and his conception of democratic legitimacy. I shall argue that Rawls' idea of public reason can be interpreted in two different ways, and that the two interpretations support two different conceptions of legitimacy. What I call the substantive interpretation of Rawls' idea of public reason demands that it applies not just to the process of democratic decision-making, but that it extends to the substantive justification of democratic decisions. I shall argue against this interpretation and suggest a procedural interpretation instead. On this view, public reason is invoked when it comes to the political justification of the principles that should govern the process of democratic decision-making, but not – at least not directly – in relation to the content of public deliberation.
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DOI 10.3366/per.2007.3.1.129
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References found in this work BETA
Justice as Fairness: Political Not Metaphysical.John Rawls - 1985 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 14 (3):223-251.
Deliberative Democracy: A Sympathetic Comment.Samuel Freeman - 2000 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 29 (4):371-418.

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Citations of this work BETA
Pure Epistemic Proceduralism.Fabienne Peter - 2008 - Episteme 5 (1):pp. 33-55.
Public Reason and International Friendship.P. E. Digeser - 2009 - Journal of International Political Theory 5 (1):22-40.

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