Chapter

Excluding Grounds that Are Nonaccessible, Based On Comprehensive Views, Or Based On Controversial Ideas of the Good Life

Kent Greenawalt

in Private Consciences and Public Reasons

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195094190
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853021 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195094190.003.0007
Excluding Grounds that Are Nonaccessible, Based On Comprehensive Views, Or Based On Controversial Ideas of the Good Life

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This chapter considers three closely related principles of political self-restraint that are not cast explicitly in terms of religion: those that exclude nonaccessible grounds, grounds deriving from comprehensive views, and grounds based on controversial ideas of the good life. The basic argument for excluding nonaccessible grounds has two dimensions. The first is that it is fundamentally unfair to coerce people, or to use the corporate authority and power of the state, when the grounds for doing so are not ones that all those affected could be expected to accept if they made reasonable judgments. The second dimension of the argument is that the political life of a society will be healthiest and most stable if political issues are resolved on premises and grounds that are fully available to everyone in the society. On the other hand, the idea of self-restraint is based on principles of neutral input towards decision-making. As the idea is put by Charles Larmore, “The fundamental liberal principle is that the state should remain neutral toward disputed and controversial ideals of the good life.”

Keywords: self-restraint; good life; nonaccessibility; comprehensive ideas; Charles Larmore

Chapter.  6041 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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