What Are the Prospects for Public Reason Liberalism?

Nicholas Wolterstorff and Terence Cuneo

in Understanding Liberal Democracy

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199558957
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744808 | DOI:
What Are the Prospects for Public Reason Liberalism?

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The project of this essay is to stand back from all particular versions of public reason theories, describe their general structure, and assess their prospects. The prospects of this theory, this essay contends, are not bright. The arguments offered for it by its main proponents, such as Rawls and Gaus, are not satisfactory. Moreover, the view is subject to a series of objections – objections regarding the fairness of the view and the feasibility of its application to actual political life – which indicate that we need to look elsewhere when developing a satisfactory account of liberal democracy.

Keywords: argument from respect; closed justification; coercion; convergence; Eberle; Christopher; equal voice; justificatory liberalism; Kant; idealization; moral demand argument; open justification; paradox of framing; positive liberty interpretation; public reason liberalism; physician-assisted suicide

Chapter.  15318 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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