Accessible and Nonaccessible Grounds of Political Decision

Kent Greenawalt

in Private Consciences and Public Reasons

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195094190
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853021 | DOI:
Accessible and Nonaccessible Grounds of Political Decision

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Analyzing the problems of decision making in the preceding chapter, the question posed here is “why would someone challenge grounds on which someone else makes political decisions?” Various answers are provided: intrinsic inadequacy, unfairness and danger to social harmony, stability, or progress. On the other hand, the chapter asks: what are the grounds that may be appropriately relied upon for political decisions? The chapter proposes realist, shared social and authority grounds. Realism asserts that moral claims are subject to predicates of truth and falsity, that they are objectively correct or incorrect. The chapter also argues that making political judgments on grounds that are commonly shared is often appropriate, even if these grounds extend beyond what can be justified directly on accessible realist bases. Finally, the ground of authority is discussed based on three scenarios: straightforward application, discretion, and interpretation.

Keywords: realism; shared social grounds; authority; intrinsic inadequacy; unfairness

Chapter.  7542 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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