Southwest Philosophy Review 28 (1):197-207 (2012)

David Rondel
University of Nevada, Reno
This paper defends Deweyan democracy against the attack levelled against it by Robert Talisse. The problem with Talisse’s critique, I argue, is that Rawlsian concerns about reasonable pluralism are a propos only for political theories of justice ⎯ for theories, that is, that make definitive pronouncements about, or offer principled limits to, the coercive power of the state ⎯ and Deweyan democracy is not (or is not centrally) a theory of justice in this respect. My argument, in short, is that one barks up the wrong tree when one criticizes Deweyan democracy, as Talisse does, on the grounds that it will coerce individuals in the name of a comprehensive ideal that they could reasonably reject.
Keywords John Dewey  Public Reason  Democracy  Robert Talisse  John Rawls  Justice  Coercion
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ISBN(s) 0897-2346
DOI 10.5840/swphilreview201228120
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