Public Reason and Democracy

Steven M. DeLue

in Scientific Values and Civic Virtues

Published in print July 2005 | ISBN: 9780195172256
Published online July 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835546 | DOI:
  Public Reason and Democracy

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This chapter discusses the difficulties associated with deriving a consensus — through a public discussion — about the moral issues associated with scientific investigations in the modern enlightened world, where traditional views remain strong, and where, as a result of the Enlightenment idea of respect for persons, these views must be carefully considered. To address this concern, this essay is framed around the quest for consensus on moral controversies arising from science in the context of a liberal democratic state, particularly in terms of Rawls’s view of public reason. The latter is seen as the foundation for public discussion among people who hold diverse moral views, but who nonetheless adhere to the shared tenets of a liberal democracy that is open to science, and thus open to the freedoms and moral values — termed civic virtues — needed to make science possible.

Keywords: public reason; Enlightenment; civic friendship; toleration

Chapter.  8635 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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