Philo 17 (1):99-115 (2014)

Authors
Lawrence Torcello
Rochester Institute of Technology
Abstract
This article seeks to re-conceptualize Rawlsian public reason as a critical tool against ideological propaganda. The article proposes that public reason, as a standard for public discourse, must be conceptualized beyond its mandate for comprehensive neutrality to additionally emphasize critique of ideologically driven ignorance and propaganda in the public realm. I connect uncritical hospitality to such ideological propaganda with Harry Frankfurt’s concept of bullshit. This paper proposes that philosophers have a unique moral obligation to engage bullshit critically in the public sphere. The obligation for such critique, I argue, represents philosophy’s essential moral component in a society committed to the protection of free speech and deliberative democracy.
Keywords Ethics  Free Speech  John Stuart Mill  Moral Complicity  Moral Fallibilism  Politics  Political Liberalism  Public Reason  Public Discourse  John Rawls
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ISBN(s) 1098-3570
DOI 10.5840/Philo20141717
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