A Duty to Offer Only Public Reasons?

Andrew Mason

in Living Together as Equals

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199606245
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741562 | DOI:
A Duty to Offer Only Public Reasons?

Show Summary Details


Many have argued that citizens have a duty to offer only public reasons in public debate, at least when arguing about matters of basic justice. Sometimes this position is defended from within a justice account by appealing to the idea of legitimacy. But even if a political principle can be legitimate only if it is acceptable to all, this allows that it may be legitimate if it is endorsed by different citizens for different ‘private’ reasons, in which case why limit public debate to the giving of only public reasons? The idea that citizens have a duty to give only public reasons is also sometimes defended by an appeal to the importance of respect for one’s fellow citizens. This argument is most at home within an equal membership account, but it faces a number of problems.

Keywords: citizenship; public reason; legitimacy; respect; public debate

Chapter.  9782 words. 

Subjects: Political Theory

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.