Kent Greenawalt

in Private Consciences and Public Reasons

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195094190
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853021 | DOI:

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This chapter discusses the triumph of liberal democracy over the challenge of Marxism and states that such triumph does not mean that the citizens of liberal democracies are already sanguine with their societies. For example, at a practical level, racial and ethnic conflict (and domination), poverty and violence are proving distressingly intractable, and relations among men and women are unsettled and unsettling. This is the context on which the rest of the chapters are grounded on. Particularly, they delve and find answers to the following questions: What grounds are proper for people making political decisions and arguments within a liberal democracy? Should public reasons be more limited than all that properly counts in private conscience? Should officials, and even ordinary citizens, restrain themselves from relying in public politics on some grounds that appropriately influence them in their private lives and within their nonpublic associations? Do fairness, cohesiveness, and stability suggest that such self-restraint is desirable? Can someone engage in such self-restraint and remain true to his or her larger conceptions of how we should live? Although constitutional principles bear on parts of the discussion, the chapter states that the inquiry to the questions above will apply political philosophy, not constitutional law.

Keywords: Marxism; liberal democracy; comprehensive views; racial conflict; ethnic conflict

Chapter.  4061 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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