Chapter

Religion and Public Life in Pluralist Society

John Finnis

in Religion and Public Reasons

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580095
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729416 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580095.003.0003
Religion and Public Life in Pluralist Society

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This chapter presents a 2004 Princeton address which concerns the rational status of public revelation in public reason. The issue is introduced with some reflections on Newman's thesis that it can be right to be economical with one's public statements of one's reasons for belief or action, and on the method by which Aquinas's teachings are presented in the author's book Aquinas (1998). Rawls's idea of public reason is shown to be radically ambiguous and, when disambiguated, empty. The chapter's thesis is that there is a reciprocity and a certain kind of epistemic interdependence (heading towards reflective equilibrium) of natural reason and divine public revelation. Christian teaching on religious liberty is used as an example of this development of a reflective equilibrium in principle (juxtaposed with development of potentially severe disequilibrium in modern European cultures penetrated by a certain kind of immigration).

Keywords: public reason; public revelation; economy of statements; Rawls; Newman; Aquinas; reflective equilibrium; religious liberty

Chapter.  6926 words. 

Subjects: Jurisprudence and Philosophy of Law

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